(Taken from Hal Elrod, ‘the Miracle Morning’)
It used to be considered that it took 21 days to form a new habit. Many now believe it takes at least 30 days.
A new habit is a behaviour you have chosen, often to replace an old one that you realise is not working in your best interests. Your habits are often subconscious so you don’t even think about them, they just happen automatically. When you consciously change a habit it takes a lot of focus and energy to stay awake and keep on task.
Initially it can take quite some time and effort to face your fears, to overcome resistance and get out of your comfort zone to commit to a new habit.
You know that once you decide on a new habit, that is only the beginning of your journey! It is maintaining a new habit and keeping motivation that is the real challenge.
You might be pleased to know that it is possible to change, once you know and understand the steps clearly. It is about learning a new skill, having a strategy and then mastering it.
30 Days to a New Habit:
The 30 days can be broken up in to 3 x 10-day stages which each have different emotional challenges and mental roadblocks.
- Days 1-10: Unbearable
- Days 11-20: Uncomfortable
- Days 21-30: Unstoppable
Phase One: Unbearable
This stage can be unpleasant and you will feel a lot of resistance. Think about the last time you set out on a new fitness or weight loss plan! After the excitement of the first day or two, the fun wears off quickly and you wonder why you ever decided to do this. You don’t like how the discomfort feels emotionally or physically. You start to think about how “you don’t want to do it” and “you don’t feel like doing it”.
The important thing to remember here is that this is only temporary. Be prepared for this!
95% of people fail in this first 10 day phase because they are not prepared for the pain and suffering they will feel.
Phase Two: Uncomfortable
This next stage will begin to feel easier. You start to get some confidence in your ability to do it and you can see a bigger picture. You will still feel uncomfortable, so discipline and commitment are required. You start to see some progress and have a glimmer of hope and belief in your ability.
Phase Three: Unstoppable
Many people believe in the “21 days to a new habit” so they think they are “home and hosed” and can take their foot off the pedal now. But, this is not the case. The final ten days are crucial to reinforce the new habit and sustain it long term. This is when you start to associate positive feelings and pleasure with your new habit. You start to enjoy what you are doing and can believe positive affirmations as you create your new habit.
In the earlier stages, pain and discomfort are associated with the habit but this starts to shift.
You start to feel good and proud of yourself for what you have achieved.
Real transformation happens here in the last stage when you start to take the habit and live it as part of your identity.
Once you have experienced the feeling of achievement in this phase, it is harder to let go of the habit and go back to your old ways. This is where you start to experience freedom and believe in your own ability to actually change your life in ways that you want to. You break free of your own self-imposed limitations to create more of what you desire.
You can read more in Hal Elrod’s book ‘The Miracle Morning’