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How to Build Habits and Stick With Them: Beyond the 21-Day Myth

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Want to learn more?
Want to learn more?

If you’ve ever been intrigued by the idea that it takes a mere 21 days to build new habits and transform your life, you’re certainly not alone. But, spoiler alert: it’s a myth! In this post, we’re going to unravel the origins of this myth, delve into the real science behind habit formation, and share some practical tips to make the habit-building journey not just effective, but enjoyable enough that you’ll stick with it!

The Origins of the 21-Day Myth:

In the 1950s, a plastic surgeon called Maxwell Maltz observed that it took his patients an average of 21 days to get used to cosmetic changes to their bodies; from nose jobs to limb amputations. So he applied this logic to his own behaviors and noted that the same adjustment period applied when he tried to form a new habit. He went on to publish his notes in a book called Psycho-Cybernetics which became extremely successful in the self-help scene, with it still being cited by experts to this very day. However, thus began a game of Chinese whispers.

You see, in his original book, Matlz stated it was a “minimum” of 21 days. However, publications that followed and leaned on this book for guidance began to misquote him over time and suddenly the “minimum” 21 days” disappeared, leaving us with the deceptive 21-day rule.  Let’s not forget, this wasn’t a scientific study; it was Maltz’s personal observations.

So How Long Does it Take to Form a Habit?

A study featured in the European Journal of Social Psychology revealed that, on average, it takes a more substantial 66 days for a new behavior to solidify into a habit. However, it’s crucial to understand that this timeline is by no means a one-size-fits-all solution.

The journey to forming a habit is complex, as highlighted by a study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. This study found that it takes an average of 18 days for a behavior to become automatic. However, this range is extensive, with some individuals experiencing habit formation in as little as 5 days, while others require a more patient 254 days.

How to Build Habits That Last

Now that we’ve debunked the myth, let’s focus on the real story. Habit formation is a journey, not a sprint. It’s not about a quick fix, it’s about laying the groundwork to build habits that stand the test of time. So where do you start?

  • Start Small and Be Specific: Begin with bite-sized habits you can easily incorporate into your routine and define specific, tangible goals that feel achievable.
  • Consistency is Key: The more consistently you practice a behavior, the more likely it becomes a habit.
  • Track Your Progress: Once you have your goals in place, it’s important to keep track of your progress to keep yourself motivated. But don’t worry about a few slip ups along the way either, it’s sticking to it for the long haul that matters!
  • Celebrate Small Wins: Every step forward is a victory. Make sure to be kind to yourself and celebrate the small wins along the way. 
  • Be Prepared to Overcome Obstacles: Expect roadblocks and setbacks. It’s not about avoiding them but learning to navigate through them.
  • Surround Yourself with Support: Let your friends or family know what you’re working towards so that they can support you along the way. The accountability will spur you on and everyone needs a few cheerleaders!
  • Remember Your “Why”: Keep the reason for your new lifestyle changes in mind and visualize what life will be like once they become a normal part of your routine and you reap the rewards!

You Heard it Here First: 2024 is Your Year

New habits aren’t just about routines; they’re about crafting a new you and embracing the changes you want to make in your life. That’s why our carefully curated supplement bundles are designed to align with your goals this year. Whether you’re seeking that extra burst of energy post-gym or a morning boost to kickstart your day, we’ve got you covered!

So as we enter 2024, let’s make this the year that you commit to the process of building habits that resonate with the person you want to be. Embrace the small wins, enjoy the journey, and discover just how much you’re capable of when you put your mind to it.

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