The real number of days it takes to create a habit

June 18, 2019
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Do you ever feel like creating healthier habits (working out, eating better, etc.) is a lot harder than it should be? That's because, in a nutshell, it all comes down to one thing – your mindset. Once you get your mindset right, everything else will begin to fall into place.

I think we've all struggled with mastering new habits – things like meal prep (and then actually eating the meals we prepped), sticking with a new workout routine, getting up earlier, reading more, etc. While you may start off with the very best of intentions, inevitably along the way life happens (you feel tired, get super busy, etc.) and all of a sudden you find yourself slipping. You start to feel guilty, may even get angry, upset, or disappointed with yourself, and end up telling yourself, "I'll just start again next week." (Cue the endless loop of frustration!)

Now, if you've ever heard the saying that it only takes three weeks to make a new habit (who even came up with that number?), I have a surprise for you – It's wrong! It actually takes nearly three times longer than that, depending on the person, the habit, and the situation. In fact, an Australian study found that on average, it takes about sixty-six days to develop a new habit!

An Australian study found that on average, it takes about sixty-six days to develop a new habit!

The study also found that missing a day or two doesn't mean you're back to square one in creating the habit. This news should make you feel a lot better, as it takes the pressure off being "perfect" right from the outset. Creating a new habit can be hard, and you can end up with unrealistic expectations – like having it down pat in just a few weeks. Be prepared to slip up now and then, and when you do, get yourself back on track as soon as possible. Eventually, it will become easier, especially when you start to see the results of all your effort!

Lasting changes take time – so whenever possible, make sure you enjoy the ride! It'll increase the likelihood that you'll own that new habit.


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