It Takes Longer to Build a Habit than You Thought it Did

It Takes Longer to Build a Habit than You Thought it Did

There is a popular thought that it takes 21 days to turn an action into a habit. Actually, the average time is 66 days. Philippa Lally discovered this in a study she conducted in 2010. There are some outliers. Some people take just 18 days, and others 254 days. 

I suspect I would fall the range of needing more than less time. 

Good self-care habits are essential to a creative life. It is a balancing act that I struggle with. Knowing what to do is not the same as choosing to do it. 

Here are some other things Philippa discovered:

  • Some behaviors become habit faster than others. 
  • Small behaviors are easier to form into a habit than complicated actions. 
  • In the formation stage, missing a day didn’t negatively impact habit-forming. However, missing sequential days destroyed the pattern.

The Habits I’m Building

  • The other day I started using a little habit tracker in my weekly planner. So I’m going to make a habit of checking that off at the end of the day. That way, I get to look at the small things I want to incorporate into a routine and hopefully check them off more often.
  • I need to do it consistently for an extended period. So I’m going to give myself to the end of this year to see how checking the tracker and tracked habits are doing.
  • I’m going to make a little contract with the habit, to breathe life into it and set it off in the right direction. 

Wish me luck! Now go build some good habits!

365 DAYS is my personal practice of shipping words and images.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Linda

    You inspired me to start a gratitude journal this year. Here we are late Sept and I’m still doing it!! I have missed up to 4 days a few times but I always go back to it. You can do it!!!

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