The start of a new year is often accompanied by new plans and goals. Many of these goals have to do with behavior. Such as losing weight, exercising more, eating healthier. Learning a new habit is quite difficult. This takes time and, above all, perseverance. How can you change habits once they are part of your daily routine? And how much time does that take? In this article, we'll take a closer look at this. Are you reading along?
How many days does it take to form a new habit?
Learning new behaviors and making them part of your habits generally takes 10 weeks. Many articles claim that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Unfortunately, that's not quite the case. Those 21 days stemmed from a totally misinterpreted examination by a plastic surgeon. This research was not about behavioral change, but about patients undergoing plastic surgery. It took them an average of 21 days to get used to the appearance changes after surgery.
More recently research indicates that habit change in eating, drinking or exercise habits takes an average of 10 weeks. After 10 weeks of repeatedly applying the 'new' desired behavior, it becomes part of your routine and you can call such a habit a reasonable automatism. So if you really want to make a change, you will have to get through the first 10 weeks of discipline. Below are some tips on how to best deal with this.
A good start is half the work! It doesn't matter how many days it takes to change a habit. The important thing is that you make a start and are motivated to achieve your goal. If it's something you've been struggling with for a long time, the barrier gets bigger and bigger. So take action!
When you have decided that it is time for a change, you would prefer to have it realized right away. But eating healthy, exercising every day, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep almost nobody succeeds overnight. It should become part of your routine.
So start with small steps! Once you've completed one step, make the next step a little more challenging and build it up until you reach your ideal goal. The easier the action, the easier it is to sustain and the faster it will become a habit.
Habits are so ingrained in us that we run them on autopilot. It is therefore logical that a habit is not completely self-evident in the beginning. There is therefore a good chance that you will forget it on your own, especially if you are busy.
Therefore, remind yourself of the new desired habits by putting it in your diary, hanging it on the fridge and/or by setting an alarm on your phone. Building a new habit becomes a lot easier if you are reminded of it every time.
Make a schedule/checklist!
To be well prepared, you can make a plan in which you include the different steps to reach your final goal. You can use a checklist to keep track of your progress. Put a check mark if you have kept to a certain intention. Or hang a list in the kitchen and indicate your successes on it. This is very helpful when you are trying to lose a few pounds. You always see a reminder for what you are doing and checking it off is very motivating because the end goal is getting closer :)
Falling back into old habits
It is of course also possible that you sometimes revert to your old behavior. No problem! This really can happen to anyone. Just don't throw in the towel right away because you think you'll have to start all over again. Because it really isn't! Just pick up your new rhythm slowly. Our brains are so used to old habits that it takes time to change them. But persistence wins. Even if you fall into old habits for a day, it's not a disaster.
Notify your environment
It is important to inform those around you of your plans. They can support you and help you achieve your goals. The support of others can be an important drive to persevere in difficult times. In addition, it is of course nice that your friends take you into account when you try to drink less alcohol, and do not come up with comments like 'Don't be so unsociable'. Because that is anything but motivating.
What habits do you want to change this year?