There Are No Shortcuts

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Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a shortcut to change. Simply by Googling the phrase “how long it takes to form a habit”, I found that the often cited time frame of “21 days” is a considerable underestimation that dates from the 1960s.

A more recent and relevant study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology suggests that when we want to develop a simple habit like eating a piece of fruit each day or taking a 15 minute walk, it could take us well over two months of daily repetition before a behavior becomes a habit.

Although 66 days proved to be the average length of time required to make a lasting change, there was a wide variation in how long habits took to form across the study. As you might expect, drinking a daily glass of water became automatic very quickly but doing 50 sit-ups before breakfast required more dedication.

The research also suggests that while skipping a day here or there isn’t detrimental to overall success, consistently practicing the new habit in the first several weeks helped people shift from the act of “conscious self-control” to successfully “just doing it without thinking.”

Just like everything in life, practice makes perfect — or in this case, a healthy habit.

Contests & Giveaways Healthy Habits Jenny Kramer, RD Resolve to Stick With It

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3 Responses to There Are No Shortcuts

  1. Crystal says:

    I agree, it does take a long time to break a habit or start a new healthy one. I have trouble with finding a way to stay interested, so that I don’t get sidetracked. Any ideas on keeping a clear mind? Or keeping your mind on your goals?

  2. Ashley says:

    I agree with that completely! It took me about 4 months to get into really wanting or feeling the need to go to the gym everyday on my lunch break! Now, if i don’t make it … I have a guilty feeling! I skip Friday’s at the gym as a “me” day but don’t change what I eat on that day. Once you get into a routine of what you need to do it’s much easier to stick with it! Now, 6 months into a routine I actually ENJOY going to the gym and find it refreshing (something a year ago I would’ve never dreamed)

  3. Jenny says:

    To keep your mind focused on your goals, try to set short term small goals and constantly keep updating them as you meet your goal. For example, your first goal could be to spend 30 minutes exercising two days per week. Once you are consistently meeting that then try to increase it a little more or find a new exercise class you could attend to keep you interested. It’s also a great idea to sign up for a 5K or some other type of challenge to give you something specific to work towards. The good thing about exercise is the more you do it the more you want to keep doing it. The hard part is just getting started but you can do it!


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