Accounting for 40% of your behaviours on any given day, breaking bad habits and building new ones can completely transform your energy levels, mentality, and even your life span.
But here’s the kicker: habits aren’t formed overnight. It takes dedication, discipline, and a burning desire for change. Dr Maltz, a plastic surgeon, noticed that it typically took a minimum of 21 days for his patients to fully adapt to their altered appearance post-surgery. Over time, this observation gained traction and led to the widely accepted notion that it takes precisely 21 days to develop a habit. In fact, research shows that our subconscious choices require a persistent 66-day effort before an action becomes ingrained and automatic.
With daily repetition of a particular behaviour (such as a 20-minute walk before work), your mind eliminates the decision-making part of the process. This has implications for exercise, diet, and productivity. Bypassing the conflicting thoughts that threaten a healthy decision is the greatest solution to improving your lifestyle.
“Bringing your awareness to the situation helps you to break the bond between the trigger and action.”
When a habit is linked to some sort of pleasure or a consistent ritual, it’s even harder to break. The first step is to focus your awareness. Does your morning coffee trigger the thought pattern that leads to a cigarette? Do you have a doughnut as you drive to work every day? Bringing your awareness to the situation helps you to break the bond between the trigger and action.
To sustainably implement habit transformation, follow these four powerful principles and make your new habit: obvious (surround yourself with visual cues that trigger the behaviour), attractive (craft an enticing experience), easy (eliminate all unnecessary barriers), and satisfying (associate the behaviour with fulfilment).
Investing effort in your daily actions could create a permanently stable solution to some of the greatest threats to your health. Exercise, diet, drinking, and smoking are so intricately intertwined with our daily routines, we often overlook healthy choices. Taking back control of your daily actions takes awareness and patience. When this art is mastered, habits become a catalyst for transformation.