Updated: June 11, 2021
It is never too late to do anything in life as long as you have the willpower and determination to do it. Maybe you want to quit smoking or start working out every day, or perhaps you want to start with something as simple as waking up early in the morning or going to bed at an appropriate hour at night.
According to studies, the time taken for an individual to develop any habit is between 18 to 254 days, and in half of the cases, it is longer than 66 days. So, it is undoubtedly not an easy task, but it is certainly doable. Read along to discover how you can develop these habits –
Repetition is the essence of developing a habit. The first way of increasing your chances of following any pattern is by increasing the number of times you do that particular thing. Habits are formed through repetitions and the more number of repetitions you can compress in a shorter period, the quicker you will develop that new habit.
Case in point, if you want to develop a 21-day morning ritual, it can be very tough. This is because you will get only 21 mornings and hence only 21 chances to make that pattern into a habit. However, if you want to develop a habit of exercising more, you can do a set of pushups quite frequently at any point during the day, and therefore the chances of that turning into a habit are greater.
According to research conclusions, it takes approximately 18 to 254 repetitions of a new behaviour to become a habit. Repeating a behaviour 12 times a day will give you 252 repetitions in 21 days. This is entirely plausible. And if you are sure about making this new behaviour a habit, try repeating it 13 times a day. Repetition is the sole success factor when it comes to developing a habit.
Even though repetition is vital in making a habit stick, sometimes some habits are not very repeatable because of their scale.
For example, if you want to spend more time at the gym while you usually spend an hour, trying to make time for it three times a day can be quite hectic and tiring. This is why it is vital to start with goals that are smaller and achievable. Many people try to change too much too quickly and more often than not, fail in doing so. In trying to make smaller habits stick, you make it almost impossible to fail. Break the big goals and habits down into smaller steps and try not to miss twice in a row as this will make you more vulnerable to slipping. Be patient in whatever you are doing and try to find your own pace in whatever you are trying to do. No amount of good will come from comparing yourself to others. And when you achieve those small milestones, do not forget to celebrate on coming so far.
While making any behaviour into a pattern, it is crucial to assess its difficulty level. Fitting a dozen repetitions of any new habit into your schedule is very hard and overcoming the internal resistance initially while trying to build a new habit makes the entire process much more difficult.
For instance, if your goal is physical prowess, and at the gym, you see someone breezily doing fifty pushups in less than a minute, you might feel what you are doing is not enough. All you have to do is discard those thoughts and start with just one or two pushups at a time. Keep in mind that what you are trying to do has to be easy for you. Maybe they have also been doing it for a long time, and that is why it is so easy for them.
Do not try to look for results initially. Once you have established the habit, getting the result will be a piece of cake. But if you do not start or give up as soon as you do, you will fail even before you start. If you have a regular habit, getting results is inevitable.
If you think you have a reliable trigger, a significant portion of your job is already done. This makes developing a habit much more straightforward. A rock-solid trigger can hasten your process of habit development. One of the principal functions of the human brain is pattern recognition. If the order of any activity that you perform is crystal-clear, your habit will solidify with magical speed.
An example of this will make it more transparent. Suppose your goal is to drink a glass of water every day after you brush your teeth in the morning. This can be achieved in 21 days. Waking up in the morning is in all likelihood, the most reliable trigger in your life, even if it is only to brush, bathe, dress up, eat your breakfast and go to school. Each of these activities can be a trigger for a new habit. Immediately after brushing your teeth, gulp down a glass of water without putting much thought into it. If you keep doing this every day, soon enough this will become a part of your behaviour, and you won’t even notice it consciously. Your brain will automatically “save” that new behavioural pattern.
In conclusion, the kind of habits you can develop in 21 days should be small, efficiently performed by you, and have a precise and reliable trigger. Do not agonize over the scale of your habit and try focusing on the activity and not the scale. Always keep in mind that the beginning is the hardest part. Using this methodology, you can attempt to develop any habit in 21 days and then focus on enhancing it and getting fruitful results.