How long does it take to form a new habit

Forming new habits and taking the time to indulge in new things is all a process. But, how long does it actually take to develop and form a new habit? Well, this is something that has long been up for debate, and science may well have delivered an answer to this conundrum. Behavioral changes can affect all of us at some point in our lives, and it can take a while to get used to them.

In the 1950s, a doctor named Maxwell Maltz discovered that it took his patients around 21 days to acclimatize to the changes to their bodies. Now, this could have just been an observation regarding his surroundings, but it doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. So what is the true answer? How long does it actually take to form a new habit?

Psychological studies

Psychology plays a big part in the development of a new habit. And Phillippa Lally, a psychology researcher from University College London, decided to carry out studies to prove this. The study followed almost 100 people over a 12-week period, as they chose a new habit. Some of these were small things, like drinking a bottle of water per day. Others were more complicated, such as going for a run every evening before dinner.

The verdict

So, what were the findings of this study? Well, it seems like it can actually take more than two months for new habits to kick in and become second nature. In fact, the accepted length of time for this new behavior to become automatic is 66 days. But, it can vary depending on the person involved, and the circumstances. Building new behavior into your life will take time, and you need to know this before moving forward.

Take heart

Don’t become disheartened when you have tried something new for a few weeks and not seen any improvements. Stop judging yourself just because you haven’t mastered something after 21 days, and remember that it can take longer. Also, take heart in the fact that you don’t have to be perfect at whatever it is immediately. Making mistakes is fine, and also an important part of the process of becoming better at something. Take heart in the fact that it takes time to learn new things, and use this to your advantage.

Put in the work

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how long it takes to perfect something and get better at something. Either way, it’s going to take hard work and dedication to improve your life and to get better at new habits and behaviors. Moving forward you need to make sure you apply yourself and take the time to improve and master whatever your chosen new habit might be until it becomes second nature.

So, as you can see, it doesn’t take as long as you might have thought to master something new. But, it might take a while, and you’re going to have to put in plenty of effort, and remain determined in order to become better. Psychologically you have to apply yourself and ensure that you are taking the time to improve.