Make or Break a Habit in 21 Days
January 16th, 2012 by Ingrid Macher
Has there ever been a habit you wanted to break? Such as biting your nails or quit smoking?
The problem is that people think they can’t give up the habit because they don’t want to picture their entire life being tempted by those habits. The struggle is bad enough week after week, why would they possibly want to go through that their whole lives.
The same goes for eating healthy and exercising.
You will not be tempted your whole life. As a matter of fact, it’s only going to be 21 days. That’s why I tell my clients to focus on retraining their brains for 21 days, it’s simply easier to take it day by day.
That’s how long it takes to break a habit, 21 days. So instead of thinking long term and even lifelong, you need to be taking each day one at a time. That way, you won’t feel so overwhelmed.
When you’re at a birthday party and you pass on the cake, remind yourself you can have a slice of cake when these 21 days are over. You will be more content when you think you can have it in just a few days or weeks.
And if you stick to the 21 day rules 100%, when the 21 days are over, you won’t even want a piece of that cake. You will realize that you worked way too hard to lose some weight that you’re not going to ruin your progress for one little piece of cake.
That’s how you need to be thinking! Before you know it, you will have lost all desire to eat cake, chocolate and all those other things you will not be eating for those three weeks.
On the other hand, while it only takes 21 days to break all of those bad eating habits, it only takes the same 21 days to build good habits.
Say you may not really ever exercise, it would actually become a habit if you decided to walk every single day for 21 days. I’m all for rest periods when you’re working out, but if you have the extra time in the mornings, on your lunch break, or before dinner to go for a brisk walk- it will soon become habitual!
I know that all of this may seem crazy to you if it’s your first time hearing about it, but this is very useful information that can help in all aspects of your life. Think of it this way, if you want to quit a habit (like eating junk food or smoking cigarettes), keep in mind it only has to be for 21 days. Likewise, if you want to pick up a healthy habit (like jumping rope for 15 minutes every morning or flossing), it has to be done consecutively for 21 days.
And that’s the mentality you need to have. Don’t think of it as a lifelong commitment, just a short term, 21 day change.