I recently completed a 21 day challenge with a friend. It was based around not eating any junk food, including chips, cakes, white bread, etc. and a certain amount of physical exercise each day. It was a great challenge and produced good results for both of us. So, is 21 days a magic number? Have we transformed to new good habits. I think yes and no.
What is the magic in 21 days?
Well, as it turns out, 21 days does not appear to be a magic number to new good habits. A study showed that it was actually 66 days on average. However, even this number is different for everyone and also depends on how difficult a habit is to create or break. 21 days actually might work for small things and be the perfect amount. The lesson being, don’t give up after the 21 days if something doesn’t feel like it is sticking.
Habits are routines of behavior that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously. Habits are hard to alter, so developing a good habit is really worth the struggle. This is true for eating and exercise habits, but also for business habits too. Some business habits that I have found really useful are having a weekly planning meeting with myself every Sunday, then putting those plans on my calendar for the week. I have found this to be a key to getting things done in my home business. I had an excellent business coach that helped me with a number of key business habits.
The great thing about a habit is that once it is in place you don’t have to exert much self-control to keep it up. This is true whether it took you 21 days, 66 days, or longer. There may be a number of phases that you will go through when developing your new good habit.
21 Days (or more) Phases to Your Good Habit
- The Honeymoon – feeling that this is easy. You feel strong motivation and inspiration.
- The Fight Thru – reality sets in as some of your inspiration may fade. This is the struggle phase, so it is important to recognize it and fight thru it.
- Second Nature – you may feel that now you are getting in the groove. At this point watch for negative results (possibly causing you to be discouraged), and disruptions (vacations, illness, etc.).
Many people would like positive habit changes, both personally or in business, to be easy. However, good habits require sacrifice. It requires doing things that others won’t or can’t do. 21 days can help you get on the right road! I have found that the challenge really inspired me. However, do know that good habits require consistent commitment. Make that commitment to make it past the fight thru and you will be rewarded with success in your eating, exercise, business, or whatever habits!