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.