The 21-day habit theory was first introduced by Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon in the 1950s. He discovered that a patient who had undergone facial surgery, for example, took 21 days to get used to his new face. When a patient`s leg was amputated, the person felt a phantom limb for about 21 days before getting used to the new situation. He concluded that “these and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it takes at least about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to sound.” The news circulated and soon the quote was shortened to: “It takes 21 days to form a new habit.” A term that stuck. If you want to form a new habit and find it miserable or not so important, you probably won`t stick to it for long. Courage and willpower alone are usually not enough. Let`s start at the beginning. A habit is a behavior that repeats itself regularly and becomes easier over time. Habits tend to become unconscious things that we do automatically and are usually divided into 3 key elements. If you`re trying to form a new habit, chances are you`ll want to undo another habit. So, is the theory correct and should you believe it? We can`t tell you that after 21 days of working on a habit, you`ll be integrated into your daily life without ever having to worry about it again.
In fact, a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology analyzed the habits of 96 people over 12 weeks. On average, a habit is said to take about 2 months to become an automatic behavior – 66 days to be exact. And for some, it can take up to eight months. Interestingly, the researchers also found that “the lack of an opportunity to perform the behavior did not significantly affect the habit formation process.” In other words, it doesn`t matter if you mess something up from time to time. Building better habits is not an all-or-nothing process. We are all a little different, and the time it takes to form a habit depends on a number of things, such as the habit itself, our experiences, our personality, and our schedule. So, while you can get into the habit in 21 days, it doesn`t work every time. Do you have trouble exercising regularly? Or eat healthy? That`s right, good habits are hard to adopt. It takes more than the desire for a habit to keep.
Discipline, courage and hard work are required daily to keep them in place. What if we told you that the hard part of trying to turn a habit into a routine only takes 21 days and automatically becomes a part of your daily life after that? Too good to be true, right? Well. Maybe. There is a lot of controversy around the theory of the 21-day habit. Some insist it`s a myth, others argue it`s the reason for their success. Let`s dig a little deeper and find out more. 2. Find your keyword.
Maybe you eat ice cream on the couch every night and would really like to stop. Instead of trying to finish the turkey cold, try to figure out what triggers the ice cream. “It`s not just about being aware of the behavior, but also understanding what`s going on before it can put your subconscious in the state it`s going to go in the fridge. Is it a certain TV show or a certain time of night? ” says David Neal, a social psychologist who has studied habit formation and breaking. “In a way, behavior is not the problem; The key word is the problem. […] I do not know if you have heard that it takes 21 days for a behaviour to become a habit. It seems to be false, as it takes about 66 days on average for this to happen. However, this number is still quite […] Create a positive parallel model. In this case, your habit of sharing your ideas immediately could be triggered by someone asking in a meeting, “What should we do?” Consider getting into the habit of saying, “I`d like to hear what Mary thinks,” so you invite other people`s ideas instead of sharing your own. On average, it took 66 days for a new healthy habit to feel automatically — things like eating fruit for lunch or drinking a glass of water after breakfast, found the 2010 British study, led by research psychologist Pippa Lally at University College London. The data was self-reported, meaning there`s a chance people weren`t completely accurate or honest. And the time it took for the habit to form was very different: for some people, healthy habits seemed automatic after just 18 days – for others, it took 254 days.
The idea that it takes 21 days to form a habit is constantly floated, but the idea probably comes from Dr. Maxwell Maltz`s 1960 book Psycho-Cybernetics. Maltz makes an observation in the book based on his work as a plastic surgeon that led to a great game with broken phones. Observing patients with limb amputations or plastic surgery, he noted, “It takes at least 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one.” The habits of very successful people allow them to systematically adopt behaviours that lead to success. Everything from good food to responsible spending, to completing tasks and beyond, requires habits that make these behaviors a part of our daily lives. Michael Jordan spent his offseason doing hundreds of jumps a day.