DISCOVER YOUR ZEN
How Long Does It Really Take To Create A New Habit?
They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. That’s kind of a weird idea though, isn’t it? It doesn’t take that long to form a bad habit. And sometimes no matter how hard we try, it takes us a lot longer to form a new habit.
So how long does it really take to create a new habit? The answer is…it depends. It depends on your mindset and it depends on how big of a change it is from what you are doing now. If it is your habit to eat a bowl of ice cream at night and you switch from regular ice cream to a low sugar frozen yogurt version, it’s probably not going to take you very long to make that new habit. Giving up ice cream altogether though or cutting out all sugar on the other hand might take a lot longer.
When we ask that question, what we really want to know is how long do we have to tough it out before it gets easier. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel where we don’t have to try so hard anymore? In other words, when will this new behavior become automatic?
While it will be different from one person to the next and even from one habit to the next, there are a few things to keep in mind.
It’s easier to make a new habit than get rid of an old one. Be prepared to work a lot harder to give up checking your email every 2 minutes or snacking late at night. Whenever possible, try to replace an old habit with a new one. For example if you’re wanting to give up coffee, brew a cup of herbal tea in the morning and throughout the day when you would usually reach for your cup of Joe.
Habits will form faster if you stick to the same time and environment each day. Instead of going for a walk whenever, keep your sneakers next to the door and schedule your walk every day at 6pm, right after dinner for example. This idea goes hand in hand with the “habit chain” that I’ve been suggesting to you. That you choose a trigger activity that is already a habit, and just add one step at a time until the new behavior becomes a habit…and of course, celebrate! Just to clarify…
- Start with trigger activity (e.g. washing dishes each night), and add one step that brings you one step closer to the new behavior (e.g. if your new desired behavior is a daily 20-minute walk, then put on your walking shoes). Celebrate (e.g. “Yay!”)
- After a number of days, #1 becomes a habit, then add another “link” to the chain (e.g. grab a jacket). Once you grab your jacket, celebrate!
- Once #1 and #2 become habit, add another “link” (e.g. step outside your front door). Once you’re standing outside, celebrate!
- Once #1, #2, and #3 become habit, add another “link” (e.g. go for the first 10 minutes of your walk). When you finish the 10 minutes, celebrate!
- Once #1, #2, #3, and #4 become habit, add the last “link” (e.g. walk for 20 minutes). When you complete the 20 minute walk, celebrate!
A constant reminder of why you’re trying to change your behavior is also helpful. Remind yourself every day that you’re exercising so your body stays strong and you can go play with the kids or grandkids in the yard. Or put up a picture to remind you that you’re making frugal habits so you can one day purchase your dream home. Keep your reason why you’re changing front and center and then be prepared to stick it out. Yes, it will take some time to make new habits and replace old ones. But it will be well worth it in the end.
TODAY’S ACTION STEPS:
1) You should be exercising according to your planned routine. (You can use the exercise program I provided, if it works for you.) If you’re not ready to go FULL OUT with the exercise plan yet…that’s OK. If you’ve been trying out my suggestion of creating a habit, then you may want to add on another step if you haven’t done so yet. Read through the Day 2 module if you’re not sure how to create this “habit chain.”
So…every time you wake up, or finish washing your dishes after dinner, or whatever that regular activity is that you choose as the one to trigger your workouts…put on your workout shoes. (That’s the first link in the chain.)
Then do the next step you’ve been practicing. If your chosen workout is taking a walk after dinner each night, maybe you are heading to the front door and grabbing a jacket. If you want to do a home workout from the exercise plan I’m giving you, then maybe you’re putting on some workout clothes – a top and a bottom. (That’s the second link in the chain.)
NOW, do the next step. (That’s the third link in the chain.) If you plan to go for a walk, just step outside your front door and stand on your porch…and celebrate! If you’ll be doing a home workout, then grab your mobile phone (to access the Fitness App) and stand in your home exercise area…then celebrate! Whatever that next step is just do that. Every day. Every time you put on your workout shoes…AFTER every time you do that trigger activity (washing dishes, waking up in the morning, etc). Remember to celebrate every time you get to the end of this “habit chain.”
If you need a little more time to reinforce those first 2 links in the “habit chain” (e.g. putting on your workout shoes, then putting on some workout clothes), that’s fine. Just keep doing that and don’t worry about adding on right now.
2) If you already received the Week 1 (and 2) meal plan, then the Week 3 (and 4) meal plan has been uploaded to your Fitness App. Log in to start planning, shopping, and meal prepping for next week.
3) Check out yesterday’s group coaching call, if you missed it. Go to Week 4 – Day 4 module to view the replay or read the call transcript.
4) If you have any questions about anything…let me know in the Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/discoveryourzen/
Previous ACTION STEPS:
(Not a complete list, but some important highlights.)
1) Log in to the Fitness App on your COMPUTER – https://doctorvenus.com/app-login/ – and go to the FORMS tab. If you haven’t completed the Client Agreement form and the PAR-Q form from Day 1’s ACTION STEPS, do that today and sign them. Be sure to click SAVE when you’re done. (You can not receive the meal plan and workout plan when they are released until we have those completed forms on file.)
2) If you haven’t done so yet, send an email to team@DoctorVenus.com and state whether you want a vegetarian or non-vegetarian meal plan. It will be sent to your Fitness App by the next day.
3) If you haven’t done so yet, send an email to team@DoctorVenus.com and let me know whether you want an exercise plan for weight loss (focused on burning calories) or for building/maintaining your mass. So you just need to indicate whether you want a BURN or BUILD program. It will be sent to your Fitness App by the next day.
4) Download the Set Your Goals Checklist and complete it. CLICK HERE to download.
5) Download the Program Planner that you can start using, if you wish. CLICK HERE to download.
6) Download the Kitchen Clean Out handout and use it to guide the clean out of your kitchen BEFORE you start your meal plan. CLICK HERE to download.