We are creatures of habit and change is meant to be difficult. We spend 80% of our day in autopilot mode. Okay, Autopilot is not all bad, it helps for repetitive activities like driving home. While on autopilot it allows us to focus on other or new activities that come up. But lets talk about habits……..
Since the 1960’s most psychologist agreed with the statement that it takes a minimum of 21 days to rid yourself of an old habit and/ or for a new habit to stick. I have found out, this is true and yet false. Why? Well because the research was not scientific, it was from the findings of a Cosmetic Surgeon by the name of Dr. Maxwell Maltz. He stated that it took approximately 21 days for his patients to become used to their new features. An with this new knowledge we, as humans, took it and ran with it and why you ask….. well its psychological, it allows us to have an end point. But in actuality it’s a setup. It makes it easier for us to feel like a failure if you didn’t succeed in this time frame.
Now I am not writing this article to discourage you, its to help you rethink. Breaking a bad habit or picking up a new positive one is worth the effort and in turn breaking a habit really means establishing a new habit. You can’t stop doing something habitual without a replacement behavior and besides it is much easier to start doing something new.
Habits are meant to be resistant to change and this is because its an habitual and repetitive action/ behavior that is imbedded in our thoughts, all while creating a routine without thought. Guess what this means!!!!!!! It means we have the capability of programming and reprogramming our brains. However, the longer you’ve had a habit, the longer it will take to get rid of it. The good news is, people are always capable of doing something else when they’re made aware of the habit and are sufficiently motivated to change.
So lets talk numbers, since I know now that we need something to hold on to. Finally scientist did the research and now the new average is 66 days, and for some it can take up to 254 days. I know you just died inside, but changes do not happen by magic, it takes work. Stay strong, you can do it. Matter of fact “Just Do It”.
So here are my Thoughts and Challenge…..
I challenge you to pick a new habit you would like to possess, use this to replace a bad habit you want to refrain from. Go on and think…… Ok ready…..
You will need 6 months minimum, true commitment, a strategy, and of course practice. It will also require the following:
Availability- how easy it is to start a new habit
Strength and Motivation- It must have personal value, and not pressure from others.
Mental and Physical- you must have the ability to change your thoughts and physically be able to do the work.
Because our brains works off the reward system, just like a little child. Start small by giving yourself a new reward for completing the task and eventually the brain will drop the old reward value and the new one will takes its place.
Embrace the process, commit to the system. Embrace the long slow walk to greatness. Treat failures like a scientist, give yourself permission to make mistakes, while developing strategies for getting back on track quickly. Forget about the number and focus on doing the work. “He who cannot obey himself, will be commanded”~ Friedrich Nietzsche.