We all have bad habits that we need to get rid of to become more successful or healthier.
It is one thing getting rid of bad habits but it is another thing trying to introduce good or positive habits to your routine.
If you read a lot of self-help books they will say that it takes 21 days for habit to take hold. I have no idea where this arbitrary number comes from. Maybe it means three weeks and you know, third time lucky. Third week lucky, it might be.
In this book by Hal Elrod he suggests a habit takes 30 days to become part of your routine which is an interesting way to look at it.
Elrod breaks acquiring a new habit into three stages:
This is the stage where you are most likely to give up. It might be fun and exciting in the first few days but that is when reality sets in and they realise that it is going to be tough and they want to give up. Fortunately that toughness is only temporary. People give up at this stage because they associate the habit with this unpleasantness.
Recently I have been trying to reintroduce the habit of intermittent fasting into my lifestyle and it is easier said than done. The first week was fine because it was exciting and I was seeing quick results however in the second week I tweaked it a bit and I just didn't like it. Reading this book came at exactly the right time for me. I know that it will only get easier for me so I can fight the first ten days.
The first ten days is going to be hell, lets not sugarcoat these things. After the first stage of ten days things will get easier because rather than thinking negative thoughts you start to associate the new habit with positive things.
I have never smoked but I can imagine that quitting smoking, after ten days you might start to feel like you have more energy, you might be breathing better and things will start to feel a little clearer.
For people fasting, you will find that your five senses start to feel clearer. Last year when I attempted to make intermittent fasting a part of my life I found that after a few days everything I saw seems to be a lot more brighter and my hearing was better and I had more energy and my focus and concentration was better than I could remember.
Hal Elrod says that because you get to day 21 this is where you get the 21 days to make a habit but he thinks that from day 21 to day 30 is the crucial time because the habit is sustained over this 10 day period. This is where you associate pleasure. As an ex-smoker you might start exercising without difficulty.
In this period, the habit becomes part of your identity and you start looking forward to doing whatever you do.
When I started writing this blog the first 20 days or so was quite unpleasant. Coming up with different topics was quite difficult and many times I thought about stopping and watch TV but I got through that initial stage and now it has just become part of my day like washing my hair in the morning.
What habit do you want to start? What do you want to incorporate in your life or what do you want to get rid of in your life?
I won't be pleasant but as they say, do you wish to have three weeks of relative unpleasantness to accomplish something great? I bet you do. It sounds good, doesn't it?
Thirty days!!! That's all it's going to take. Take it one day at a time.