Monday, October 28, 2013

Motivation Monday - Creating Habits

In our Weight Watcher's meeting, our leader was challenging us with "habits."  Apparently, facts show that creating a good habit takes longer than creating a bad habit.  Really??  This had me thinking - good or bad, how long would it take for an activity to become automatic.

I'm not one to hear something and just believe it.  I need to study up on it.  So, I Googled it...apparently, others wanted to know this answer as well.  Most articles show that a habit takes 21 days or 3 weeks to form.  This magical number of 21 days came from a study done in the 1960's from a psychologist studying amputees.  He found that it took on average these individuals 3 weeks to adjust to the loss of their limb.  I'm not a clinical anything...however, I do know a close friend whom lost both legs and most of his fingers due to a horrific infection to his body (he didn't have a spleen) - after 12 years - it is safe to say he is still adjusting.  His daily activities might have become a "habit" - how to do every day activities without the use of his limbs - but, emotionally adjusting to this - I know took longer than 21 days.

After additional study, I feel the statement made in our Weight Watcher meeting was true with one major difference.  Good or bad, easier or smaller activities do take less time to form as habit than harder ones.  For example, deciding to drink a glass of water before each meal is an easier activity than jogging 1 mile every day.  So, forming that habit will or should take less time. 

I know I don't hold a degree in psychology or clinical study, but I know a thing or two about me and human nature.  We are all individuals, with our own personality traits, strengths and weaknesses.  How could you lump everyone into a generalization of "21 days to success or 3 weeks to: ...(fill in the blank).  Answer - you can't.  

So, whatever you are trying to motivate yourself to do.  Whatever habit you are trying to beat or create.  Understand that - it will take longer than 21 days or 3 weeks.  Stick with it, work at it, strive to be "better" and be kind to yourself.  We are all "works in progress" as long as we are living.  Quit making excuses, decide to change and get started.  

Habits - our behavior - will become automatic with each step forward.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.    

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