We’ve all got bad habits- some worse than others. When it comes to health, you’ll likely need to break a few bad ones to make room for some better ones. Perhaps you drink too much soda or eat out too much. Maybe you don’t exercise because you don’t make time for yourself. Whatever it is, today we’re going to look at why it takes 21 days to break a habit. This should help put you on the right path to breaking bad habits and making better ones.
Your mindset is important and it can change rather quickly. Before even attempting to break a bad habit, you need to be in the right mindset. If you tell yourself you have to exercise five days a week for the rest of your life, you’re going to psych yourself out immediately. If you tell yourself you’ll need to do the same thing, but only for three weeks, you’re much more likely to succeed. Once your three weeks are up, try another three weeks. Don’t rush to jump into a new mindset. Give yourself at least 21 days for it to really sink in.
If you’re going to try and break a habit in 21 days, it needs to be a daily habit. For example, do you have a 16 oz Coke every single morning? Do you stay up until 2am and wake up to go to work at 6am every on a regular basis? These are problems that 21 days can really help with. If you’re engaging in a bad habit less frequently, you have less opportunities to turn things around. Again, you have to give yourself time.
You have to practice patience with yourself if you want to see change. If you give yourself 21 days, you’ve got time to hit some roadblocks and recover. Breaking a habit is likely to get harder as you go along, so expect some bumps towards the end. Remember that you’ve got 21 days and that’s it (remember what I said about mindset). Make them count, but give yourself room to breathe.
21 days is enough time to try out new placeholders. When you recognize something that triggers a bad habit, you can try new ways to handle that trigger. Remove triggers like candy from the house, or turn off the TV by a certain time. By understanding the root of the problem, you can replace your triggers and learn how to move forward. It takes time to find out what works best for you though, and that’s why 21 days is important.