Breaking a habit is necessary sometimes when it starts causing problems in one’s life. Therefore, when we categorize habits into good and bad habits, we can say, “Breaking bad habits is necessary.”
The simple act of deciding to stop a particular behavior isn’t enough to break a habit. Getting rid of old habits takes time and dedication.
From observations around the world, some everyday habits people try to break are:
- Pressing the snooze button.
- Choosing work above sleep.
- Keeping your phone near your bed.
- Omitting breakfast.
- Leaving your most crucial tasks till later in the day (Procrastination)
- Inability to Prioritize tasks
- Managing multiple things at a time
How Many Days Does It Take To Break a Habit?
An ancient saying states that it takes 21 days to break a habit.
In the 1950s, Dr. Maxwell Maltz - a plastic surgeon, identified a unique pattern in his patients. When Dr. Maltz performed a nose surgery, he observed that almost “21 days” were taken by the patient to accept his new look.
The observation from his surgery encouraged him to consider the habit formation process and acquiring new habits. He discovered that it takes almost 21 days to acquire a new habit. This experiment and other regularly seen events suggest that it takes at least 21 days for an old habit to vanish and a new habit to become automatic,” Maltz wrote of his experiences. These observations were published in a book named “Psycho Cybernetics.”
Psychologists from University College London decided to put this notion to the test. For 12 weeks in a 2009 study, the team investigated the habits of 96 people and their behaviors, with each participant picking a new behavior to practice.
Throughout the study, participants reported on whether or ney executed their new behavior automatically, it seemed daily. The study found that a new habit takes roughly 66 days to become automated, significantly longer than the 21-day milestone we’ve been told.
This research discovered a few things: To begin, it usually takes over two months of daily repetitions for habit formation. Second, while this research demonstrates that skipping single days isn’t harmful in the long term, the early repetitions count the most in terms of making a habit an automatic reaction.
A tiny July 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology reached the same conclusion. Individuals attempting to modify a behavior linked to more healthy eating, drinking, or exercise took 18 to 254 days to change a habit. Most people fell somewhere in the center, requiring an average of 66 days to change their habits.
Latest Research on Breaking a Habit
According to a 2012 investigation via a trusted source, 10 weeks, or around 2.5 months, is a more reasonable estimated amount of time for most people to break a habit.
In one study, overweight individuals were randomly divided into experimental groups and control groups. Ten easy diet and exercise plans were assigned to the experimental group.
These plans were to evaluate whether the experimental group receiving treatment lost weight faster than the control group. After practicing the diet plans for 8 weeks, the experimental group had dropped 2 kg, whereas the control group had lost 0.4 kg. At the end of 32 weeks, the results of the experimental group showed that on average, 3.8 kilograms were lost.
The results revealed that the diet habit formation was developed automatically in the experimental group. The behaviors had become second nature, and participants ‘felt rather uncomfortable’ if they did not perform them.
According to a 2018 assessment of past studies on habit development and change, habit change is more successful when the environment is modified and when cellphones and other technological means are used.
Tips for Breaking a Habit
Breaking a habit needs consistent effort. Here are some tips that can help you stay motivated on this track.
- Choose a replacement for your bad habit.
- Remove as many triggers as you can.
- Collaborate with someone who is also on the same journey as yours.
- Visualize yourself as a winner.
- You don’t have to be someone else; simply return to your old self.
- To counteract negative self-talk, use the word “but.”
- Prepare for failure.
- Tracking Habits
Different habits are acquired by every human during their lifetime. But, not all habits are bad. Practicing Good habits is way too important as they define one’s personality.
Some essential good habits you can practice to improve your lifestyle include sleeping on time every night, having your meals at proper intervals, etc.
Whereas Bad Habits can be annoying and affect your quality of life. You should consider breaking bad habits: Delaying work till the eleventh hour, a disorganized routine, eating junk food more often, etc.
Breaking bad habits becomes more complex, especially when practicing them for a long time. On the other hand, understanding the habit formation processes in the first place may facilitate breaking habits.
When trying to figure out “How many days does it take to break a habit,” remember that the time it takes to convert an activity into a habit varies tremendously. Changing behavior requires more than just time.
Director of the “Spirituality & Health Institute in the Psychology” Department at Santa Clara University and Adjunct Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, Dr. Thomas Plante describes:
There are three things that you have to ponder upon prior to breaking a habit. Firstly, how motivated are you to break a habit? What’s the level of practicing that habit? Is it a strongly formed habit?
Finally, what can be the outcome if you don’t break that habit?
Many habits that should be broken are linked with poor time management, such as: snoozing the alarm, delaying the work to the last hour, becoming late, procrastination etc. Successful people across the globe are masters at managing their time, so practicing time management skills is the key to breaking these habits.
It would take time and effort to break a habit. One must be patient and have trust in their resolve. To increase productivity in your work life, breaking a habit that interferes with your routine becomes necessary.
Of course, breaking any habit is difficult in the beginning. This is when you must be determined not to revert to previous routines.
However, once this period has passed, you will better understand how to deal with the urges or behaviors you wish to eliminate.
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An excellent digital personal planner can break bad habits and simplify your work schedule.
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