It takes 18 to 254 days to form a habitFri, 2010-12-10 10:07
Written by Tarja, Nokia Wellness Diary team
I have been using Wellness Diary to count my steps, monitoring my sleep and exercise for about a month now. I have started to wonder, how long it will take before I can full heartedly say that I have succeeded in adopting new, permanent and beneficial habits. As for example climbing the stairs instead of using an elevator. I must admit, that it is not a habit yet. I still have to think of it every day. Every time I stand in front of an elevator, I have to tell myself that I am a stair-climber, not an elevator-user.
I found an interesting article in PsyBlog, a website about scientific research into how the mind works. According to the article, it takes an average of 66 days to form a habit, but there was marked variation in how long habits took to form. Anywhere from 18 days up to 254 days in the habits examined in the study of that article.
What I found extremely comforting was that missing a single day did not reduce the chance of forming a habit. I still have hope. I have been using the elevator a couple of times, but soon there will be more than single days if I do not watch out. The article also suggests that some people might be 'habit-resistant'. I am certainly not. Presumably not. Or at least I hope that I am not.
I cannot really say, how long it took for me to start going to the gym a couple of times every single week. I do go there regularly nowadays, so I am not hopeless anyway. And I certainly use the stairs to go down there. Do they have an elevator or escalator? No. But I would not use them even if they had.
What are your experiences? How many days have you needed to adopt new beneficial habits or abandon bad ones?