The Science behind 21 days to make a change...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I have just met one of my first milestones. I have been on SP for 21 days now and logged every food I have eaten, stayed on my meal plan, and continued to remain committed to my new life style. This is one of my first milestones because I know that research shows that it takes 21 days to form a habit and make a change. The research is scientific and brain based. Although I know the research is based on 21 days, I have set a personal 30 day challenge for my streaks before I consider it a successful streak.

Here are a few facts that I have found about the 21 days research:

"Particularly enlightening - and applicable to so many vital situations in life - is Maltz' identification of the '21 day' phenomenon: the fact that the human mind takes almost exactly
21 days to adjust to a major life change, universally - whether it's a negative like a loss of a limb or a loved one, a change of employment or residence, or positive like entering into a new romantic relationship."

Brain circuits take engrams (memory traces), and produce neuroconnections and neuropathways only if they are bombarded for 21 days in a row. This means that our brain does not accept new data for a change of habit unless it is repeated each day for 21 days (without missing a day)."

I am completely fascinated with brain based research. I use it a lot in my occupation as a special education teacher. The brain is amazing and I can never learn enough about it.

Now, referring to the research I posted, I should be approaching a comfort level with my new behaviors that I have been exhibiting over the past 21 days in a row to the point that they are now habits. Do I feel these behaviors are habit? Well, honestly, no. When I think of a habit, I think that this would be a behavior that you don't "think" about to do it. You just do it. And for me, a habit is something that you can do automatically, without thinking as you do it. With that being my criteria for "habit", I would say that my new behaviors are not yet habits. .... But they are getting there!

Here are my new behaviors that I have been trying to condition myself to do:

1) Log onto Sparkpeople everyday = DONE
2) Journal everything I eat in my tracker = DONE
3) Eat wheat free everyday and every meal = DONE
4) Prepare every meal/snack from fresh foods (no preserved foods) = DONE
5) Drink 8+ glasses of water a day = not done :(
6) Eat 7+ fruits and veggis per day = DONE
7) Stay within my nutritional goal ranges everyday = not done :(

Although I have done most of these for the past 21 days, I don't feel that I do them without thinking. I have to sit down and "think" through the process, if you know what I mean.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • TRISHP1961
    Interesting! You are on your way, I am also wheat and sugar free. It was a long journey, but it becomes automatic after about a this whole idea makes a lot of sense.
    3522 days ago
    Thank you for the interesting anaylsis. I have been on Sparkpeople since the last of May and have found it very helpful. But need to learn to be consistent like you. This summer whenever we went on a trip or to the mountains, when the computer got hacked, or someother interruption in life happened I didn't get things recorded. Knowing though that if I could I would record the day I still tried to live the habits I was developing.
    Good luck with your continued efforts!
    3523 days ago
  • no profile photo CD9551619
    Very interesting!
    3523 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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