If you have been playing along at home and you read Simple Hacks To Help You Build New Habits, you are now on your way to get the new habits formed. And, if you are blogging away with us in the Ultimate Blog Challenge, you are into your 3rd day of the new habit! Great job! At this point, you are on your way to a strong foundation.
Did you know they say it takes 21 days to create a new habit? 21 days! 3 weeks! That’s kind of a weird idea though, isn’t it? It doesn’t seem like it takes that long to form a bad habit. And sometimes no matter how hard we try it seems that it takes us a lot longer to form a new habit. Well, for me, that is!
So how long does it really take to create a new habit? The answer is… well, that it depends.
It depends on your mindset and it depends on how big of a change it is from what you are doing now.
If it is your habit to eat a bowl of ice cream at night and you switch from regular ice cream to a low sugar frozen yogurt version, it’s probably not going to take you very long to make that new habit.
However, giving up ice cream altogether though or cutting out all sugar, on the other hand, might take a lot longer. (By the way, I was on a sugar detox for 4-weeks… talk about a tough habit to break or create… Yikes! But I digress…)
So when we ask the question about how long it takes to create a new habit, what we really want to know is how long do we have to tough it out before it gets easier?!?! Is there a light at the end of the tunnel where we don’t have to try so hard anymore?
In other words, when will this new behavior become automatic? How long do I have to endure the pain I am going through to break an old habit or form a new one?
While it will be different from one person to the next and even from one habit to the next, there are a few things to keep in mind:
It’s easier to make a new habit than get rid of an old one.
Be prepared to work a lot harder to give up checking your email every 2 minutes or snacking late at night. Whenever possible, try to replace an old habit with a new one. For example, if you’re wanting to give up coffee, brew a cup of herbal tea in the morning and throughout the day when you would usually reach for your cup of Joe.
Habits will form faster if you stick to the same time and environment each day.
Instead of going for a walk whenever, keep your sneakers next to the door and schedule your walk every day at 6 pm, right after dinner for example.
A constant reminder of why you’re trying to change your behavior is also helpful.
Remind yourself every day that you’re exercising so your body stays strong and you can go play with the kids or grandkids in the yard. Or put up a picture to remind you that you’re making frugal habits so you can one day purchase your dream home.
Keep your reason why you’re changing front and center and then be prepared to stick it out.
Yes, it will take some time to make new habits and replace old ones. But it will be well worth it in the end.
Are you trying to break a bad habit now? Or how about create a new one? Leave a comment below