On average, it has been shown to take about two months for a new habit to form - 66 days, to be exact. Is that number magic?! No, certainly not, but it does give a good perspective as to how long we need to do something consistently in order for it to become a habit, and then hopefully, a sustainable lifestyle.
So, those of us who want to lose weight, eat more veggies, workout more consistently, improve mobility and range of motion, stop cussing, stop smoking, drink more water, stop apologizing, and learn to be more grateful, we need to do it for at least 66 days straight for it to become a REAL habit.
Start with just ONE habit. Maybe you want to improve your squat position and range of motion. Okay, so every single day, before you go to bed, do a squat mobility routine. It can be just a 5-min routine, or a 10-min routine, or maybe you want to commit to 20 minutes. Maybe you dedicate your early morning to a 10-min ROMWOD video. Every single day, though, for 66 days.
Maybe you want to stop apologizing all the time for every little thing. Okay, so let’s replace the words, “I’m sorry” with “thank you.” Every time you get the urge to say you’re sorry, force the replacement out - So, instead of “I’m sorry I’m late,” say, “Thank you for waiting for me.” Instead of, “I’m sorry I just don’t understand the movement for the Snatch,” say, “Thank you for your patience and willingness to coach me through this.” And instead of, “I’m sorry, these were the only donuts they had left,” say, “Thank you for indulging with me in these donuts.”
Maybe you want to go to bed at a consistent time and make a bedtime routine. Okay, so set your smartphone alarm to the time you want to start your bedtime routine at. Maybe the time is 9:00pm, and you want to be IN bed by 9:30, lights out. Write out your routine on a piece of paper in a list form and have it on your bathroom mirror or nightstand. Maybe your list is: 1) Change into pajamas or sweats, 2) Brush teeth and wash face, 3) Read a book or write in journal for 10-15 min, 4) Silence phone, set alarm, and turn lights off.
We are so ego and competition driven, whether we realize it or not, and we want to see “how fast” we can achieve something. Yikes. You can’t rush weight loss. You can’t rush a heartache. You can’t rush postpartum depression. You can’t rush addiction recovery. You can’t rush building 6-pack abs. And, you can’t rush your first ring muscle up.
Anything worth doing, and anything you want to keep, needs to be done slowly, consistently, and really well.
66 days is the minimum. 66 days is just the tip of the iceberg.
After 66 days, while the habit will certainly be much easier to maintain and will run on auto-pilot more often, you still have to do routine maintenance to keep the habit strong and dominant.
Okay, so what habit are we starting with today?! ;-)