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How Long It Takes To Form A Habit

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Damla

Is the developer and the main researcher of HowLongItTakes.com

2 Months

It took me Months Weeks to form a Habit

Have you ever thought that you really need a habit to be a happier person? If the answer is yes, you probably also know that performing an action over and over again is actually not easy as it sound. It is also more difficult to do this if you don’t like the thing you plan to do, like going to the gym or simply drinking more water.

When you start your journey of forming a new habit you may feel like you are just not good at it or you don’t like to get orders even from yourself. Everything can seem even more frustrating if you have already tried one of the magic formulas like “Forming an habit in 21 days” And according the article published in European Journal of Social Psychology, How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world, time needed to form an habit is actually quite variable but not even close to the mythical 21 days. The research results suggest that the average time to develop a new habit is actually 66 days! Moreover, underestimating the required time would more likely to do more harm than the initial motivation boost.

You should know before trying to form a habit that habits are very important and guiding factors of our lives and even though the results can be hugely beneficial, you also need to invest your time and energy on forming them. It will be easier to achieve your overall goal if you choose easy, micro steps to achieve it. For example, if you are going to develop the habit of flossing your teeth, you may start with flossing just 1 teeth. You will spend a lot less time and you will have the feeling of satisfaction of completing a task.

Furthermore, you should also keep in mind that if you going to try replacing a bad habit with a good one, your brain and body may be reluctant to do so. In that case, you should be sure that the new habit is as rewarding and as satisfying as the old one. And if you can’t do that maybe you should reward yourself for completing that task. You may give yourself a little treat or you may do something that you love after performing the beneficial but boring activity.

It would also be useful to prepare your environment accordingly when you are trying to form an habit. For example, if you are trying to drink more water, you can bring bottles of water to your desk to both remind you and reduce the resistance of the beneficial action. Another example could be preparing 3 gym bags for the upcoming week and keeping them ready.

Forming a habit seem a though thing to do but you should always remind yourself that you chose this and it will be beneficial for you.

We are also conducting our own research about how long it takes to form a habit, please share your experiences below!

How do we know this?

http://repositorio.ispa.pt/bitstream/10400.12/3364/1/IJSP_998-1009.pdf

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