Research shows that forming a new habit takes an average of 66 days, and can take up to 254 days! This is a long way from the more common misconception that it only takes 21 days. Perhaps this is why so many of us struggle to form new, positive habits… we begin the process with misguided expectations.
I think another common problem with forming new habits is that we often try to do too much at once. It can be easy to get motivated and think we can start going to the gym five times a week, eat a salad every day, get up an hour earlier, stop watching TV, read an hour a night, start going for daily walks, start a gratitude journal, go teetotal and stay off social media all at once.
And then a week later we’ve jacked the lot in to binge-watch Netflix with a KFC, a bottle of wine and a big bar of chocolate.
If you’re a regular to my newsletter, you’ll know I’m a fan of not doing everything, this also applies to my views on forming a new habit – focus on one at a time, do it well and when that’s set, move on to the next.
With that in mind, I had an idea. Instead of trying to implement multiple new habits at once, over a short period of time. I’m going to absolutely nail one new habit at a time, over a long period of time. 66 days is the average time it takes, so I’m going to give myself a bit longer at three months per habit.
Starting this now also lines up very nicely with the seasons, and I believe anchoring a new habit to a season will strongly aid the mental aspect of forming a new habit over this period of time.
It’s easy to think that this approach will be a slow process, and how it would be so much quicker to just start a few new habits now, and I could have them all in place in a month…. but how often does that really work?
If I can almost guarantee that in a year I will have formed four new strategically chosen habits which will have a hugely positive and life-changing impact, isn’t that better than almost certainly flaking out on trying several new habits within a month?
I am a huge fan of choosing long-term over short-term after all.
The new habits I’m focusing on in the upcoming seasons are as follows:
- Spring: Fasting
- Summer: Gym
- Autumn: ?
- Winter: ?
I’m not ready to reveal anything past six months at the moment, but my immediate goal for the next three months is to absolutely nail fasting, and the following three months will be the gym. This doesn’t mean I won’t go to the gym in the next three months, it means my focus will be fasting.
Why fasting? I’ll let you know next week.
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