They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. That’s a strange idea, isn’t it? It doesn’t take that long to form a bad habit. And sometimes, no matter how hard we try, it takes much longer to create a new habit.
So how long does it really take for a new habit to form? The answer is that it depends on it. It depends on your way of thinking, and it depends on how big the change is from what you are doing now. If it is your habit to eat a bowl of ice cream in the evening and you are changing from regular ice cream to a frozen yoghurt version with low sugar content, it probably won’t take you long to develop this new habit. However, if you give up ice cream altogether or give up sugar, it could take much longer.
When we ask this question, we actually want to know how long we have to keep it up before it becomes easier. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel where we don’t have to work so hard anymore? In other words, when will this new behavior occur automatically?
While it will vary from person to person and even from habit to habit, there are a few things to keep in mind.
It is easier to adopt a new habit than to get rid of an old one. Be prepared to work much harder so that you don’t have to check your emails every 2 minutes or nibble until late at night. Whenever possible, try to replace an old habit with a new one. For example, if you want to give up coffee, brew a cup of herbal tea in the morning and all day long if you would normally reach for your cup of Joe.
Habits form more quickly if you stick to the same time and environment every day. Instead of always going for a walk, keep your sneakers by the door and plan your walk every day at 6 pm, for example, right after dinner.
A constant reminder of why you are trying to change your behavior is also helpful. Remember to exercise every day so that your body remains strong and you can play in the yard with the children or grandchildren. Or hang up a picture to remind you to adopt thrifty habits so that one day you can buy your dream house. Keep your reason for changing front and back, and then be prepared to stick it out. Yes, it will take some time to acquire new habits and replace old ones. But in the end it will be worth it.