Today we answer a question that we get asked all of the time, and it can be quite challenging to estimate as it will be unique not only to every habit but to each person and their ability to master the tasks, persevere, stay consistent, and overcome potential obstacles. “How long does it take for my actions to become a habits” also pops ups in various forms –
When does it become second nature?
When will I crave “x”?
When will I be one of “x” those people?
When wont I have to think about it and just do it?
To create any habit will be a case by case scenario depending on how often the behaviour and routine is performed, how difficult it is for you to complete, what knowledge base you have and if you have any emotional blockages/ internal resistance to completing the task!
Some tasks will take days, some months and some years before they will become 100% second nature. However there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel and 100 days to establish a habit is normally more than enough. There are stages that you will go through when creating a habit and we will help set your expectation through the course of this blog!
Before you start:
When looking to change any habit you need a good plan. This will start by you mapping out exactly what you are looking to achieve from the behaviour. Be specific, write down the behaviours that will need to be implemented, what potential obstacles might be in your way, and note how you are going to feel once you have achieved your goal as well as how you are feeling about it before you start.
If you are looking at your goal and feel some resistance already, it is important you deal with that first. You may need to learn more about a behaviour, you may feel like its unachievable, you may lack confidence due to past failures, or you may just have some fear about change all can be quite normal but it is certainly important to address these concerns.
Some helpful tips:
- You will need to show discipline consistency to achieve success.
- Find an expert to accelerate your learning
- Recruit an accountability partner
- Journal or track your journey and results (this will help you work through your obstacles)
- Create new habits to replace bad ones try and avoid “I am just going to not do this any more”
- New habits will be more successful if we create them on the back of existing habits
100 Days of Commitment!
Day 1 – 10
Congratulations you have committed to crushing your goal! Hopefully you haven’t waited because change happens in an instant (not on Mondays, and not tomorrow, but today). You have spent the last couple of days creating a plan and making sure you are to the bet of your knowledge ready to achieve success!
What to expect:
Resistance from change: With the ever evolving world we live in you think we would be used to changing but there is something “human” about wanting not to change anything even if our current situation is hurting us! Assuming you already have created your goals and your plan when approaching the task that needs to be completed “sit and stay” until you begin. This will help you not get distracted face your fear and overcome your resistance. If you need to sit in your workout gear at a park for 3 hours before you move to get the first few sessions done do it!
Resistance From Learning: Learning new tasks can send you right back to school where you may have been called silly or stupid or have some form of emotional blockage that holds you back from learning when you are an adult. You may have self doubt and self confidence challenges that are pop up. The lesson to learn here is that with time and effort you can and will conquer all tasks. You do not need to be the best or the smartest to achieve your goals, you need to be the most consistent, continue to put in the effort and be patient with yourself as you learn. This is where getting someone who has already established the behaviour you are trying to learn will come in handy. If in doubt hire a teacher or a coach that specialises in what you are trying to achieve!
Motivation can be excellent: Boom you are ready to crush the world! Both pain and pleasure are great motivators and you may have chosen to start creating new habits because you are sick and tired of your current situation or you really want an amazing outcome or both. Either way right now you are the furthest you will ever be from your goal so you will be the most driven for change! Utilise this unique situation as best as possible!
The first 10 days will challenge you. Be ready persevere and don’t give up! Willpower will be your friend here. Search for small achievable wins to help maintain motivation, and focus on progression even if it is very small. The small things always add up.
Days 11 – 20
We have made it through the first 10 days which have gone one of two ways. 1. Were an absolute piece of cake because you where so motivated and focused OR 2. Were horrible and you really had to use all of your willpower to get through the start of your new behaviour. Both are quite normal paths to take.
What to expect: You may have already got some early wins and starting to see and feel the benefits of the new habits you are forming, however it can still feel like trudging through mud. The initial learning of the new habit is done. This is a big breakthrough as many struggle with the learning of the new skills involved with new behaviour even if they may appear to be simple, often they are not as smooth sailing as expected. Celebrate small wins and make sure you have set the game up so those wins are almost guaranteed and this will help you with sustaining your motivation.
It is helpful to be reviewing your goals regularly at this point this will help you stay focused!
Days 21 – 30
Finally, the results are here! The learning phase is done, you will have the hang of most new behaviours and are now a more experienced and knowledgable version of you is starting to take hold. The benefits of the new behaviour are starting to come through now!
What to expect: Game on! You have proven to yourself that you can get over the initial hurdles. The good news here is you can use pleasure points, and not pain points, as motivation now as you really starting to feel good about the new habits and behaviours you have in place. Be aware though your self talk (or inner voice/ internal dialougue) can be quite sly here. Your self talk may shift from “this is hard” “I just need to get through today” “I am not sure I can do this” to “you are doing really well so have you can relax or cheat or have a day off”. This can be the downfall of many. It is still not ok to have a day off or cheat or any other way to look at it. You are still early on and the new habit is still very fragile especially if you are changing a habit or breaking a habit that has been with you for years! Stay focussed and stay on track, do whatever it takes to make sure you get through to the 30 day mark with out a major mistake!
Days 31 – 100
Time to set it in stone! Complacency and making it “OK” to be undisciplined is where most eager habit creators fall down in this stage. If you can make it to 100 days you will find that the new behaviour has woven its way into your life. 100 days also allows you to master the skills necessary to make the habit stick. For example, with meal prepping would involve:
- Step 1. What to eat
- Step 2. Where to shop
- Step 3. How to cook
- Step 4. How to store the food
- Step 4. What do you prefer
- Step 5. How many options do you need for variety
- Step 6. What day works best to do your prepping
You would have learnt all of these skills, and probably many more, and are now just cooking not really thinking about anything but how not to chop your fingers!
On average it takes 66 days to get small habits to feel second nature, however to really learn the skills to be confident in mastery I would recommend at least 100 days! Let’s consider the numbers about what 100 days represents:
Australian average lifespan is 82.10 years (thank you Google). Therefore 100 days is only 0.22% of your life to commit to a habit that may change your life forever!
My question to you is what habit are you looking to create?
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