How Long Does It Take to Form a Habit?
Take a quick search on the Internet and you will have a shocking revelation. What revelation will that be? You will see that all it takes to develop a habit is between 21-31 days.
The days vary in between these numbers and now I understand why the self-specialists believe if you repeat the same behavior over a couple of days it's certainly will help you to develop a habit. The issue of a habit is not that very simple because, as we can relate to our personal life experiences, some habits can be developed very fast.
Let’s say for some consecutive nights you tuned your TV to Netflix to watch an action drama. Subsequent days that follow, you will always wanting to tune in to Netflix. Some habits come very quickly and some are very difficult to cultivate, for example, going to the gym daily, this habit may not come quickly. So general, how fast and how strong a habit depends on the strength of the old behavior.
Putting a little light on why it is so, if someone has been eating ice cream daily for over ten years it’s not going to be very easy for that person to develop a healthy eating habit. Another example from another perspective: it is going to be quite easy to cultivate twice-a-week-gym habit if you already going to the gym once every week.
Best way to go about getting a good habit is just starting one day at the same time and do not waste the energy trying to meet up a deadline. Here are some plans you can follow to continuing in a new habit.
1. DEFINE SMALL, SPECIFIC GOALS
Getting a new good habit is not very easy at the beginning so the best advice is to start with small, defined and specific goals. Assuming your new goal is “to get more organized”. This is not specific or small goal so you could perhaps keep your closet clean and kitchen tidy. Just start with small steps, for example, do your laundry every Saturday. You need to keep a track of your own development and success level. Habit is simply a repeated behavior over time so always think about this when you intend to pick or make any new habits.
2. BE FLEXIBLE
Assuming you want to start a healthy eating habit, you may be motivated but always think about the logistics and mental fences you have to deal with. For example, you got tired and do not have the strength to cook, or the restaurant selling healthy food is far away from where you live. You can deal with this, by saying, every Saturday you cook a lot of food that can serve you for a week and store it in the refrigerator. This way you know you always have food whenever you want it. So, whatever habit you chose to cultivate, try to make it easy for yourself to be able to meet all the requirements.
3. GET A PARTNER
Every single one of us can easily fail to live up to our own standards or expectations, but its true we do not want to see our friends or family disappointed in us. Finding someone who wants to share in our habits, trying to cultivate such habit or already in it can help you go a long way. For example, you want to start exercising regularly, then it’s okay for you to find a friend who wants to hit the gym. This way you both can be the source of encouragement to each other. Sometimes, just a simple text or word of reminder from someone can be a game changer. Being held accountable by someone else is always a motivation; use it to your advantage.
4. MENTAL AND EXTERNAL REMINDERS
Having a “habit” friend is a good way to get off when starting a new habit but it’s not enough, you can also employ the use of your phone, notes, to do lists and more. A simple reminder on your fridge telling you that it’s time to do some jogging can tear off that laziness in you. Also important to note that you need not rely just on physical reminders you need to also work on your mental reminder. Maybe you need to go to the gym sometime in the day but your head keep telling you “how much you hate the gym”. It’s imperative you replace such thought with “…I cherish how I feel after a workout.”
5. TIME IS REQUIRED
Everyone fails sometime so do not beat yourself up each time you fail in one step. All you need to do is to be consistent, smart, and focused on your approach and in no time you will see that the habit is already in you.