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How long does it take to change a habit? some say 21 days--depends on the habit!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick" by Jeremy Dean
"In a study carried out at University College London, 96 participants were asked to choose an everyday behavior that they wanted to turn into a habit. "

"The simple answer is that, on average, across the participants who provided enough data, it took 66 days emoticon until a habit was formed. As you might imagine, there was considerable variation in how long habits took to form depending on what people tried to do. People who resolved to drink a glass of water after breakfast were up to maximum automaticity after about 20 days, while those trying to eat a piece of fruit with lunch took at least twice as long to turn it into a habit. The exercise habit proved most tricky with “50 sit-ups after morning coffee,” still not a habit after 84 days for one participant. “Walking for 10 minutes after breakfast,” though, was turned into a habit after 50 days for another participant"

"Although the study only covered 84 days, by extrapolating the curves, it turned out that some of the habits could have taken around 254 days to form — the better part of a year! " emoticon

"What this research suggests is that 21 days to form a habit is probably right, as long as all you want to do is drink a glass of water after breakfast. Anything harder is likely to take longer to become a really strong habit, and, in the case of some activities, much longer." emoticon

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
LAURANCE 4/24/2014 8:51PM

  Thanks for this information!

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DONNABRIGHT 4/24/2014 7:20PM

    Good info -thanks for sharing.

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FROSTY99 4/24/2014 6:09PM

    I have found it only takes a few days to "break" that new habit. Don't do it for a few days and it quickly loses it's charm as a habit so....rule of thumb is to never something you are trying to develop into a habit for any length of time.

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2HAMSDIET 4/24/2014 5:11PM


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LIS193 4/24/2014 12:15PM

    Great article!

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HAPPY-DESTINY 4/24/2014 12:15AM

    I love all of the research that has been done on perhaps 'willing' as well as 'non-willing' participants!

As for me.. and I can only speak for me . . it takes one day to form a new habit . . Today!

I have been sugar free for 13 days now because I MAKE it a habit to not eat refined sugar each day!

Semantics..? Perhaps . . yet I think it is the day to day things that we do that eventually gain numbers and then we call it 'habit'!

I believe that if the motivation is there and a decision is made . . then a new lifestyle begins in that moment!

Nice blog though.. great info.. Thank you for posting the link! You are emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/24/2014 12:16:35 AM

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ARTJAC 4/23/2014 11:21PM


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CELLA_P 4/23/2014 10:07PM

    That sounds like it makes good sense... emoticon

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ELSCO55 4/23/2014 9:33PM


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KMARTIN963 4/23/2014 7:37PM

    Its funny but I just wrote in my blog about forming habits and I came across your post! I needed to hear this. Thanks! emoticon

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EVER-HOPEFUL 4/23/2014 6:35PM


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WENDYSPARKS 4/23/2014 5:06PM


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1AVERY 4/23/2014 4:01PM


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LOU1DAY 4/23/2014 3:28PM

    Good to know, and probably a "must-read" before making any New Year's Resolutions! The interesting article to read would be the follow-up to see how many of those who had formed a habit within the 84 days still had it a year later. Then, the thing to do would be to determine which habits lasted and which ones didn't. Having a glass of water with or after breakfast may be an easy habit to keep up, but doing 50 sit-ups after morning coffee or walking 10 minutes after breakfast may be well-intentioned habits that can be broken with just a few days of a different schedule.

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RITAVALENTA 4/23/2014 3:09PM

    Good info for those of us who need to break bad habits and incorporate new ones. With any luck I will be in the habit of my daily walks before winter hits again.

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