September 20, 2018

How long does it take to create a habit and how do we sustain that habit?


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Have you also heard that to create a habit it takes 21 days?

30 days?

66 days?

the opinions vary greatly. 

I believe the higher number - 66 days - is more realistic to create a habit, but even then, you can't just do something for 66 days and then think it became a habit. You can't expect it to be  automatic and that you don't have to actively and consciously make sure you continue to do it. 

Nope! You can still fall off the wagon even after 66 days (or longer) of successfully having a habit. We have to recommit on a regular basis and 

Never Miss Twice! 

It has happened to me just recently that I fell off the wagon and that is why I think it doesn't really matter how long it takes to create a habit. What matters much more is how we can sustain that habit and not fall off the wagon. 

  • for years my husband and I had a green smoothie every single morning until last year sometime when we fell off the wagon. Now we only here and there have one - the great, healthy habit we had (for way more than 66 days) is gone and we haven't been able to get back on track
  • In spring I meditated for 96 days in a row and then fell off the wagon July 8th. I meditated again July 9, 13, 22, 23, 24, 25th and then fell off the wagon completely and have not been able to get back on
  • also in spring, I did my moon gymnastics every day for 5 minutes for a total of 54 days. Even though I felt good and the gymnastic did me good, I fell off the wagon with this too on July 10th...

and last but not least business related: 

  • for almost a year I had tracked all the tasks I accomplished during the day in my business. Everything I did I recorded either under 'creation', 'action', or 'consumption' and made sure that I spent at least 30% on 'creation' and only 10% on consumption per week. I had started that habit in August 2017 when I noticed that my days were very busy but I did not get a lot done (ever had that experience?). It turned out I spent a lot of time on consumption.  Well after a full year of doing this, I fell off the wagon in week 33, the middle of August 2018 and even though I miss doing it, I have not gotten back on the wagon. 

It's more important to know how to sustain a habit

This shows (and I am pretty sure I am not the only one in this) that if you stop caring, stop pushing, stop consciously making sure you do the things and habits you want to do, you fall off the wagon. 

....especially in the summer months.  

Summer is an awesome time, it's my favourite season, but it's also the time of the year that we business owners easily fall off the so-called 'wagon' of momentum and it's very darn hard to get back on.

In fact, James Clear states in his blog How to build a new habit: this is your strategy guide that when we fall off the wagon, we need to get back on track fast, to never miss twice. 

The moment you miss twice you probably have fallen off the wagon.

In fact, it's so much easier and needs less energy to stay in the habit of doing something than having to get back on track after you missed it for a few times - or more than just a few times like me.

Now the summer is over and September is a great month to get back on track, don't make the mistake of waiting till January! I wrote about the special energy that September holds a while back in my blog post Back to School / Back to Business

Take advantage of the energy filled atmosphere

Review your goals you wanted to achieve in 2018 and the habits you wanted to create and recommit to the ones that are still relevant.

Next week is already the last week of September, but we can still harness the energy of new beginnings. I'll share with you how I got back on my wagons and how you can too, so come back here to read about it.

But first, please leave me a comment and tell me what habit-wagon have you fallen off this summer and how you'll plan to get back on?

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  • Thanks for this Connie, very timely. I was in the middle of a 67 day exercise and eating committment recently and fell of the wagon. I reached 27 days and stopped. I’m drawing a line underneath it today and getting back on.

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