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You Are What You Repeat
New Year’s Resolutions are fundamentally a desire to establish a new habit for yourself, and the beginning of a new year provides the feeling of making a fresh start. All of the newsletters this month have had this “fresh start” kind of focus – word for the year, willpower and now habit formation.
Those of you who make a habit of forming new or nurturing existing habits may be aware of the common statistic that says it takes 21 days to form a new habit. So by today, January 22, if you diligently stuck to your new year’s resolution, you should have a new habit by now. Bam!
In reality, most habits take at least 66 days to create and really tough ones can take up to a year. I was very surprised to learn this. I suppose 21 days feels much more doable, so many of the self-help gurus grabbed onto the short end of the spectrum to make more headlines.
Some easy habits, e.g., drinking an extra glass of water a day, can form within 21 days, but if you are reaching for something more challenging, please avoid feeling like a failure if you haven’t reach habit-level change by today. Instead, mark your calendar for March 7 – that will be 66 days. You have 45 more days to make your desired change/new habit a reality.
(Kashy, Quinn & Wood 2002)