Lots of people throw around numbers about how long it takes to establish a new habit. Twenty-one days? Twenty-eight days? A month? Three months? In one study on habit formation it was determined that the time required varies a lot from person to person, from just 18 days to 254 days, with an average of 66 days.
Of course, one factor that can influence how long it takes to acquire a new habit is the difficulty of a habit. The harder the task, the longer it may take to become a habit.
That means that making a good behavior a habit takes commitment. You need to consciously repeat an action again and again until it becomes nearly automatic. Although missing a day won’t completely derail your new habit, consistency is important.
With that in mind, my question for you is: How to you maintain your dedication and keep working toward your goal of establishing a new habit? How do you motivate yourself to keep doing something, day after day, until it becomes a habit?
I find that doing something around the same time every day works. One habit I have been working on is walking my dog every day. It hasn’t always been easy, especially in the hot and humid Houston summer, but I have been doing it. Because of the heat, we walk in the evening. Some days we may only walk for 15 minutes, but we walk (nearly) every day. This new habit has helped me to lose some weight and keep it off, a nice reward for a good habit.
An alternative to doing something at the same time every day is to make an appointment with yourself and keep it. For example, if you want to get in the habit of writing every day, but can’t always do it at the same time, block out time in your schedule to write and treat that appointment as something you must do.
Add your answer in the comments and let us know what works for you!