How much time it takes to form a habit
How much time it takes to form a habit? There is no specific answer to this question. This question arise constantly both on business trainings in the formation of necessary skills and personal life. We all strive to develop good habits in ourselves, and abandon the bad ones, but we often abandon our endeavors without ever finishing it. So how many days do we need to form a habit?
You’ve probably heard the phrase that habit is formed in 21 days, but a complex skill cannot be learnt in 21 days.
One experiment was conducted by scientists with the goal of studying the psychology of habits; about one hundred people took part. These people have expressed the desire to develop a new useful habit, for example, to drink a glass of water every day in the morning, eat some fruit for lunch, perform a 15-minute run or regularly wear a corset to correct posture. Participants were asked daily that how much their actions seemed to them automatic and how difficult it was for them to refuse to perform this action.
In the course of the experiment, scientists have established a certain relationship between the regularity of performance of actions and automatism. On average, automatism, that is, habit, is formed by the 66th day of practice. In other words, after two months the action becomes as automatic as possible.
According to the schedule, in the initial stages of regular practice is accompanied by a marked increase in the level of automatism, which subsequently gradually reaches its maximum.
And although the average is 66 days, the researchers found that it took 18 to 254 days to form the various habits examined during the experiment. For example, a glass of water for breakfast becomes a habit very quickly. Meanwhile, in order for half a hundred sit-ups in the morning to become a habit, more effort is required.
Another example of the formation of a new habit is experiments on the physiological and mental effects of spatial disorientation. In these experiments, participants were given spectacles with convex lenses that turned the image 180 degrees.
Subjects wore these glasses 24 hours a day, even when asleep. At first, they showed signs of deep stress. Then they adapted the new conditions gradually, but it was not possible to completely overcome the stress. And suddenly, in 26 days with one participant something amazing happened: the world that he saw through his glasses again became normal! The glasses remained the same, and he still wore it, but suddenly his brain was able to normalize the picture!
A few days later, all the other subjects achieved the same. In other words, in this experiment it took from 26 to 30 days of continuous transmission of new sensory information to the human consciousness, so that the brain began to perceive this data as “normal” and formed a new habit. Later similar experiments were repeated and confirmed by various institutions and researchers.
If a person wants to adapt some simple and useful habit in him, like eating a lot of vegetables and fruits every day, he will need only a couple of months of daily practice. A new habit can take root only when a person is satisfied with the results, and is also completely interested in it!