Many people believe it takes 21 days to master a new habit.
Self-help books and motivational gurus have promoted the 21-day myth for at least 50 years, with little research to validate the claim. In a 2009 European study, participants took a full 66 days to adopt a new habit.
As much as we’d like to think we’re in control, making conscious decisions, many of our behaviors are automatic. We deny this reality because it’s much nicer to believe we’re disciplined beings who continuously exercise free will.
A Texas A&M University study reveals how strongly habits rule our lives. Participants kept diaries of what they were doing, thinking and feeling. After reviewing the data, researchers found the diarists engaged in habitual behaviors one-third to one-half the time.
This article explores the factors that contribute to making and breaking habits, and provides suggestions and exercises for changing our behaviors.
This is a brief synopsis of an 820-word article and Article Nuggets,*suitable for consultants’ newsletters for executives and leaders in organizations. It is available for purchase with full reprint rights, which means you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials. You may also modify it and add your personal experiences and perspectives.
The complete article includes these important concepts:
- Anatomy of a Habit
- 6 Steps to Changing a Habit
- Try the WOOP Exercise
- If/Then Scenarios
- Conquering the Habit Loop
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