Does it take 21 days to form a habit?

They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit but does it really? Perhaps that’s too long or actually not long enough.
Why is it that some habits last a lifetime and some can just be flat out hard to break?
There are a lot of things in life that we do without even thinking like walking, going to bed, getting back up and brushing our teeth. Are these habits so strong because essentially, we’ve been doing them since day dot?
Consistency is key
Any habit or change you want to make can start with a very small change but if you can continue to do it every day, over time it becomes automatic and can (and will) lead to other changes happening. It’s the smaller changes becoming habit that can make the biggest impact
Keeping your changes small also helps you not feel overwhelmed. We don’t have to try and change everything at once
The journey is a progression and although you might have 7 steps forward and 2 steps back, your still 5 steps in front from when you started
So, new habits may or may not take you 21 days to make but as long as you make the new change you want out of life – this may relate to fitness, mind or work – it’s all a positive step to making new life long habits

We asked the professional opinion of Jordan Lark who is the owner and founder of Evolutionary Health and Business Coach at The Fit Mentor and who has been in the industry for over 10 years, what his thoughts and best advice is for clients:

‘Can we stop with the whole “it takes X days to form a habit” idea?
It’s another black and white rule that sets expectations ultimately to fail.
Not all habits are the same.
Wanting to stop a habit of biting your nails is not the same as a habit of doing some daily exercise for example.
Biting your nails has no ultimate bearing on anyone else. It doesn’t mean much.
Getting in your daily exercise has a tremendous amount of influence of our external environment and people. The other week I wanted to go for a hike, but as I was about to leave, I got a call from my kids’ school to say he was in the sickbay and could I come and get him.
How long someone has held a habit matter
Why that habit exists in the first-place matters.
As I said, it sets people up with misguided expectations and when something comes up, they deem that process a failure. That they just can’t do it.
That’s not how it works.
There are no hard and fast rules here.

How I normally talk about habits with my people is to assume you’ll never break a habit. What you do however is build a competing habit.

And it’s ultimately about one outweighing the other.

So if we think of a typical weighted scale, on one side you have the old habit which is currently weighed down by let’s say 30 marbles. You work out your competing habit and get to work. Day 1, you complete your objective and add a marble, day 2, the same and so on. By day 30 the scale is balanced. It probably takes you less conscious effort to do your *good* habit.

But day 144 rolls around there’s a trigger which sees the old habit win:

Well that’s just 1 marble on one side.

But if we only think of habits as on/off then for some when day 144 rolls into town we’re easily defeated.’

You can find out more on Jordan at:
www.jordanlark.com.au
www.thefitmentor.com.au