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
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! "
"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."