We’ve been bombarded with quick fixes to our problems and health concerns. Take this pill. Eat this superfood. Just do “this” particular strategy for 21 days and you will be a brand new person. All your worries, bad habits, health problems, or whatever is troubling …
We’ve been bombarded with quick fixes to our problems and health concerns.
Take this pill.
Eat this superfood.
Just do “this” particular strategy for 21 days and you will be a brand new person.
All your worries, bad habits, health problems, or whatever is troubling you will magically disappear.
Some even tack on the word “guaranteed” at the end.
We’ve been told it only takes 21 days – or sometimes even in as little as 7 days – to solve all of our woes. Microwave culture is partly to blame.
We want it yesterday. It’s as if today is too late or too slow.
Today has become so yesterday.
It takes 9 months to create life. Sometimes the growth of a human being from 2 cells takes less time or maybe a little longer, but the standard is 40 weeks.
Habit creation follows a similar guideline. It takes time and can’t be rushed or there might be problems.
It takes an average of 66 days to create a new habit. Not seven, twenty-one, or some abbreviated version that we are so easily sold.
Have you tried to constrict the forming of a new habit into only 21 days?
Did you succeed? Awesome! You are among the few. How long did that habit stick? If it didn’t stick for very long, it probably wasn’t truly a formed habit.
Did you fail and subsequently decide that the new habit you wanted to make or break was not really for you? Somewhat of a scapegoat reason. I’ve been there more often than I will admit to any living being.
Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon in the 1950s noticed a common theme with patients after a visually altering surgery, like a nose job or an amputation. It took a minimum of 21 days for his patients to start to adjust to the new situation.
Over the years, habit formation or breaking timelines have been warped, manipulated, and fashioned into a faster – and false – narrative. An illusion of the truth.
The illusory effect is the principle that if something is said often enough, people will accept it as truth. Propaganda is an illusory effect, a technique attributed to the Nazi Joseph Goebbels to sway the masses into succumbing to their horrific master plan to annihilate entire populations.
21 days to create a habit can be considered an illusory effect.
The truth: It takes 18-254 days to create a new, positive habit.
Quite the range of possible days to be dedicated to a routine rooted in sheer determination, don’t you think? For me, the thought of depending on my feeble willpower for even 14 days is sometimes daunting. I’ve failed before day #1 is over many, many, many times.
What’s a guy or gal to do?
Use one well-formed habit to create a new one.
Habit stacking is a method to successfully create new habits.
Before I use my present to build my future, I go through a few steps.
I create a WAR on my habits.
W – write it out
A – act
R – reflect, then revise or repeat
Writing out your goals, the plan of action, and possible loopholes or hang-ups prepares your mind for battle. Think of it as a lesson plan for your new habit. Using pen and paper, not typing, creates connections in our brains better than pecking away at a keyboard is lacking. Get as detailed and specific as you can about why you want to create the new habit, how you will create it, what you will do when you come to roadblocks (not if), how you will course correct, and if you have an end time for your habit or goal.
Once well-defined, you are ready to stack your newbie habit onto an established one.
Consistent habits like brushing your teeth, drinking your morning coffee/tea, or even using the bathroom are great daily occurrences that new habits can be built.
For example, if you want to improve your ability to do push-ups, you can stack that new behavior onto brushing your teeth. The cue is pulling out your toothbrush and toothpaste – hopefully twice a day. The new habit might be 10 push-ups. Each day you will get 20 push-ups in. You might put a post-it note on your mirror for the first few weeks to remind yourself, but eventually, it will become automatic – and you will get stronger.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, teaches a simple formula that encourages new habits to form almost effortlessly.
After/Before [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]
Remember this new routine will most likely take a few months to become a concrete habit. If you miss a few days, give yourself grace, move forward, and review your WAR plan (outlined above).
Good habits start with being intentional.
Accountability is a key component for 95% of the population to create and stick to new positive habits and routines. Only 65% of people who publicly announce their intentions stick to their plan.
Are you someone who makes great goals, but has a difficult time meeting those goals?
Do you have thoughts of creating new habits, but aren’t sure where to start?
I’d love to help.
Let’s chat on a discovery call by clicking the button below.