Perhaps you’ve heard, “It takes 21 days to make a habit.” Well, yes, and not quite. The 21-day research comes from a plastic surgeon, Maxwell Maltz who noticed a pattern in his patients. Whether they went in for a nose job or lost an appendage, something changed in the patients around day 21. The brain and body need time for an “old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.” Maltz observed that this transformation occurs around day 21.
Other people have taken that research and gone further. Phillippa Lally’s study revealed that it takes anywhere from 18-254 days to build a habit. This research also showed that if a person missed a day now and then, the end result remained the same. Change is not an all-or-nothing process. It’s okay to “miss the mark,” as long as we keep going.
In Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning, the author identifies three stages of habit forming. The first 10 days, are UNBEARABLE. In this phase, we are often ready to quit at every turn. We might say things like, “It’s too hard.” or “I don’t wanna.” This is the time frame in which most people give up. Days 11-20 are UNCOMFORTABLE. We still may be grudgingly doing the thing, but we are building discipline and getting used to our new routine. In days 21-30, we become UNSTOPPABLE. It’s during this time that we take ownership of our new habit. Often there is some evidence that the change is paying off in tangible results.
Only 9% of people keep new year’s resolutions. Around 25% quit by the end of the first week. So many people give up by the end of the second week, that the second Friday of January is known as “Quitter’s Day.” Be willing to work through the discomfort in order to achieve your own transformation!
Since February is the shortest month, it is ideal for creating new habits. Even if you start today, you’ll be on your way to UNSTOPPABLE by the end of the month!