We are made of our habits. Good habits and bad habits. Some of your habits are going to make you successful or are keeping you successful. Some of your habits need to be replaced because they are keeping you from being successful. Some of your habits are neutral to your goal of being more successful.
We need to upgrade some of our habits. How do we do this process? We target one or more of our old habits to upgrade. We start to do new actions, and we repeat them over and over. Furthermore, we do this for some time (depending on who says…more about this later in the article) to slowly replace our old habits with new habits. Simple, not easy!
How much time does it take you to create a new habit?
Great question! If you ask lots of people, you’ll get many answers. 21 days, instantly, 254 days, 18 days, or something else.
Stretch back to the 1950s when a plastic surgeon, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, was curious about how long would his patients get used to their new look or feel after he performed surgery on them.
He noticed that it would take his patients at least 21 days. Listen carefully to what he said. In 1960, Maltz published his thoughts on behavior change and forming new habits in a book called Psycho-Cybernetics.
In spite of his words, it became the “certainty” that it took a person 21 days to form a new habit.
In the decades that followed Maltz’s work (which influenced nearly “everyone”), people began to forget that he said “a minimum of about 21 days” and shortened it to, “It takes 21 days to form a new habit.”
In the decades that followed, Maltz’s work (which influenced nearly “everyone”), people began to forget that he said “a minimum of about 21 days” and shortened it to, “It takes 21 days to form a new habit.”
In a study published in 2009, the researchers found that on average, it takes more than 2 months (66 days) before a new behavior becomes automatic.
The principal researcher of the study, Phillippa Lally, said it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit. How long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.
In other words, if you want to set your expectations appropriately, the truth is that it will probably take you anywhere from two months to eight months to build a new behavior into your life — not 21 days.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says, “Forget about the number it takes. Focus on doing the work, and you’ll form a new habit that sticks!”
It is hard, if not impossible, to unlearn a habit. Say a “bad” habit. We are creatures of our habits. If you want to improve, then learn at least one new habit.
We cannot stop doing a habit. We have to change to a new action or habit in the old routine. When we want to unlearn a habit, it means that we have to learn a new habit first. Then it replaces an old habit.
Let’s start and examine some habits of successful people. How about 3 habits that many successful people do? They avoid time-wasters, they make exercise a priority, and they spend time with people who inspire them.
You need to do an inventory of your current habits. Decide which habits are going to stay and which new habits to add. Do you make sure your time is well spent? Regularly (at least once per month), replace habits that are time-wasters with habits that are a wise use of your time. Use the steps for changing habits earlier in this article.
You can repeat this with your habits of your exercise habits and your “spending” time with people who inspire you.
Make sure that move your body every day. Stretch, walk your pet, do a resistance or weight lifting session, run, swim or bike. Also, make sure your exercise habits account for your rest and recovery. These are important habits of your exercise routine.
Finally, looks for habits to “spend” time with inspiring people. Schedule hearing a podcast, a YouTube video, or a book by someone you find inspiring. Set up time to get together with people who you find inspires you. Make it a routine that you are rejuvenated by others periodically.
That it! Upgrade your habits, so “they” are talking about you as one who’s successful because of your habits!