I want to start this 2013 with concrete actions.
My first step was believing and unraveling the “21 days myth.” When you want to break or make a habit, it takes 21 days. Sounds legit, no?
“Let me use this as inspiration to become a morning person this month,” said Claudia yesterday. Just goes to show how absent-minded I am.
Who took psychology 101 her freshmen year of college? Right, me. One of our first assignments was a conditioning experiment, with a rewards and consequences system. See, dear-reader, the way we ever learn anything is through repetition and adoption. The time frame for learning or unlearning varies. It took months for me to learn basic swimming skills, but only a few burns when I was younger to stay away from boiled water.
The rewards and consequences system is a good start to changing a habit—like my constant glass-touching habit from last year. Minutes were added of Korean drama watching for every goal met, and minutes were taken off for every goal unmet. At least that’s how I choose to remember my self-chosen yay’s and man’s!
Needless to say, the system is not foolproof as I’ve had to fix my glasses for no reason many times before, including in these moments of post writing. “It’s a smart person thing,” said Claudia’s ego.
Okay, future Dr. Rojas probably should stay modest. And so, to let you in on other psychological truths, I want to share the following findings from a study summarized in the PsyBlog in 2009, under “How Long to Form a Habit?”
- Evidence shows that the average to establish a habit is 66 days and counting.
- Not all habits are easily manageable and not everyone manages a habit in the same way.
- The early bird meets the goal faster… obviously. Don’t you all know the Turtle and the Rabbit story?
- Not explicitly stated in the study: choose change and don’t turn around.
With that being said, good luck to all on your “21” days. May I find myself rising with the sun… or sooner.