It Takes 66 Days To Create a Habit
If you set a goal to drink more water or save more money or implement a new cardio workout this year, you can celebrate your success on March 6th. That's the day your new habit will be officially formed.
We used to hear that 21 days would be enough time to turn a new quest into a habit, but that timeline has tripled now to 66 days. The experts REALLY want to make sure that treadmill routine is going to stick. The yoga pants we pretty much love immediately, but actually exercising in them takes apparently a while.
They studied a whole lot of people to figure this out, and some folks said the new routine felt "automatic" within 18 days, and some said it took as many as 254 days to really feel it. Those might be the people who are not loving exercise so much, or learning to play the banjo, or whatever the goal might be. Sometimes it takes longer than we think it should to kick in, but we fake it 'til we feel it and then it gets easier.
If we go with the idea that it takes 66 days to incorporate something new and settle in with it, the magic date is March 6th. Writing in the gratitude journal or eating more broccoli will be feeling routine by then, so if you can get to March 7th it's smooth sailing for the rest of your life. In theory anyway.
I remember starting a new running routine on the treadmill on February 22, 2015 and somehow I've been able to keep it up steadily since then. I've complained in my head and tried to talk myself out of it many times, but 5-6 days a week I still make myself walk and/or run 6 to 10 miles on that thing. I don't know that it has ever felt automatic, but it's definitely a habit now.
On our way to March 6th, maybe the most important thing is to know that we'll most likely try to wimp out and talk ourselves out it, but if we can suck it up for a couple of months it will feel better than it does right now. As long as we stay consistent, the habit will form.
Looking at it in the reverse, this must mean we've gone a lot longer than 66 days with the bad and unsavory habits that have already become part of our lives. Now how long does it take to kick those?