How long will it take you to make that habit stick?
By Susan Caba
I have to admit it…I don’t have anything original ready for today or tomorrow.
But I’m determined to post every day, so I’m going to excerpt/link to the thoughts of others, while I gather mine.
Appropriately, today’s link will take you to a long post on Brain Pickings about forming habits. The author reviewed Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick, by psychologist Jeremy Dean.
Here’s just a bit of what Dean has to say about the 21-day rule for forming habits, based on research:
“… on average, across the participants who provided enough data, it took 66 days until a habit was formed. As you might imagine, there was considerable variation in how long habits took to form depending on what people tried to do. People who resolved to drink a glass of water after breakfast were up to maximum automaticity after about 20 days, while those trying to eat a piece of fruit with lunch took at least twice as long to turn it into a habit. The exercise habit proved most tricky with “50 sit-ups after morning coffee,” still not a habit after 84 days for one participant. “Walking for 10 minutes after breakfast,” though, was turned into a habit after 50 days for another participant. …
“What this research suggests is that 21 days to form a habit is probably right, as long as all you want to do is drink a glass of water after breakfast. Anything harder is likely to take longer to become a really strong habit, and, in the case of some activities, much longer.”
I’m going to check it out, read the post more thoroughly and may (or may not) have thoughts later. Brain Picking’s author (who isn’t identified, as far as I can tell) recommends the book.
“Making Habits, Breaking Habits, which goes on to explore such fascinating facets as the difference between habit and intention, the key to getting off autopilot, and how to break out of habitual loops, is remarkably insightful and functionally helpful in its entirety. Complement it with the proto-treatise on the subject, William James’s famous meditation on habit, which includes his three rules for the successful formation of new habits.”