By definition, a habit is “a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance”. It’s been said that it takes 21 days to create a habit. To this day, I don’t know who made this rule. Honestly, I have a hard time totally believing it at face value. No, I’m not a pessimist. But, let’s take working out for instance. I was feeling under the weather this week, but I didn’t let that stop my “habit” of working out. That was at least until Tuesday morning when my cold said, “You’re not working out today. I’d like to see you try buddy”. So I took heed to the warning and took 2 days off from the gym. I worked out yesterday and it seems like I’m just now catching my breath back from that, lol. I’ve created a routine of what should be a pretty easy habit to stick to. There’s no way that taking 2 days off would have this kind of effect. Or is there? Yesterday, it was like pulling teeth to get myself out of the bed and into the gym.
Why does it seem like it’s easy to latch on to the bad habits and hard as heck to hold on to the good ones? Maybe it’s just me, but some things I don’t need 21 days to make a habit. I love chips (especially Doritos), ice cream and listening to music. With the exception of music, I just don’t make eating a Doritos and ice cream every day a habit because I know it’s not good for me. Don’t think so? Think about a drug addict. Thank God I’ve never tried or been hooked on drugs. But I’ve never been one to shun those that have. You may be looking at the screen with your face scrunched up right now, but it’s the truth…well, my truth at least. Do you really think it took that person 21 days or 21 hits to realize they were addicted? Not hardly. Sometimes all it takes is one time to fall into the abyss of a habit that has taken control of us. But on the flip side, it sadly could take that drug addict much longer than 21 days to pull themselves away from their habit.
In my opinion, when it comes to habits, 21 is just a number. It can take a much shorter, or sometimes longer, time to create and break some habits. We usually have no problem making something we love (whether healthy or unhealthy) a habit. But the real test is turning negative habits into positive ones. Could you do it in 21 days? Maybe so, but then again maybe not. The important thing isn’t how long we do something before we make it a habit, but WHAT we are doing that turns into a habit.
What are some habits you’re looking to gain or get rid of in the near future?