Old habits are hard to break and new habits difficult to form.
On that note, let’s stay positive. It is possible to implement new habits and get rid of old ones. It just demands focus and determination.
Many people say it takes about 21 days to turn a daily action into a habit. Other research proves it takes much longer, between 66 up to more than 200 days. At the end of the day though, it all depends on the type of action we are trying to implement as well as our own commitment level and character. So there is really no point of comparing yourself to others.
The only thing to consider is your own check list. Here is ours.
We sometimes are full of confidence and with the New Year we have a rush of optimism and start by putting the bar pretty high for ourselves. If you have never run before in your life, avoid setting yourself up for failure by having as a goal to go running for one hour every day. And don’t overwhelm yourself with tons of new habits you want to put into practice, pick one and see how it goes first. Learn from the journey.
It’s not enough to just decide with yourself that starting next Monday you’ll meditate daily. What does that entail? How much time is required? Where can you do it? What is the best part of the day for you to squeeze that time in and make sure you will not have to skip it to prioritise something else? Do your research!
Key word: repetition, repetition, repetition.
Let’s get real people: “Habit formation is the process by which a behaviour, through regular repetition, becomes automatic or habitual”. Key word: repetition, repetition, repetition. There is no other way to put it, if you don’t repeat, it will not turn into a habit. It’s as simple as that.
Be honest with yourself
Some things will stick, some won’t. Be honest: have you given it your all? Have you really committed? Have you tried long enough? If the answer to all these questions is yes, then maybe you need to give it even more time. Maybe you need to re adjust the parameters: the time of day might be off, the way you are doing it might be wrong (if you are practicing yoga on your own for example, and not doing postures properly you might not feel any benefits from your practice). Do not hesitate to talk to people about your struggle and they might come up with great tips!
If the answer to those questions is mostly no on the other hand, then let’s face it: maybe deep down you are just not that committed. Maybe it was just one of those “New Year, New me” resolution that felt right in the spur of the moment. And that’s totally fine. Once you know something is not for you, there’s no need to waste time! The only judge here is you, the only goal is a better understanding of who you are and how you can enhance your life and even if it often does not feel like it, only you have the answers.
By: Mo Oléron