It takes approximately 21-30 days to make (or break) a habit. I take this as extremely good news! While making changes in our habits can feel difficult, if we can just hang on for three weeks then we can really feel the shift from difficult to not so bad. And when we hit that four week marker, it’s really become just part of our routine! This is not to say that these new improved healthy habits are straight up easy, but sometimes they will be, and maybe even enjoyable!
Now, the funny thing about creating new habits is that the behavior must be consistent. Our brain is constantly working to recognize established and predictable routines, and when it does recognize a pattern then it becomes easier to follow said pattern. Now, within our 30 day habit forming time period, if we break the pattern, then that 30 day ticker begins again!
A few years ago I was listening to a seminar that Jack Canfield (Author, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series) had done for Arbonne consultants, and he relayed the neatest study that I often think about. So here is the gist of the study:
The study involved looking at astronauts and getting them prepared for their time in space. Specifically, dealing with zero gravity, and the fact that much of what they would be viewing/looking at may be upside down. In trying to prepare the astronauts for this, they were given special glasses to wear for 10 minutes each day in which all images would appear upside down. In doing this they discovered the craziest thing! After 30 days of this consistent practice, synapses actually formed in their brains, that allowed the upside down images they were viewing to FLIP RIGHTSIDE UP!
Are you kidding me…no, straight up serious! Blows me away. Our brains are crazy awesome! Now, what is even just as fascinating is this:
When during the 30 day trial period they skipped even one day of the 10 minute upside down viewing time, then the prior days were for nothing. The synapses would not form. The 30 day period had to be started again, and the routine followed CONSISTENTLY for another 30 days in order for the brain to acclimate!
Moral of the story…make EVERY DAY of a new healthy habit count! Stick to it to make it stick.
What can you begin today, that by January 1st 2012 will be an established part of your life?
Follow me on twitter @JulieSatterfeal for daily ideas and inspiration. That’s one of the habits I am working on…tweeting a tip each day!
Have a great week J