So you’ve been curious how long it takes to break a habit. Maybe you’re thinking of breaking bad habits and developing new ones. Whatever reasons you have, science tells us that it takes between 18-254 days to break a habit.
What are Habits?
By definition, a habit refers to a behavior repeated more often to the extent that it becomes automatic.
If you’re thinking of breaking a habit, it’s crucial to spend some time evaluating the impact of the habit on your life. This means evaluating if the habit positively or negatively impacts your health, behavior, relationships, and work.
So, How Long Does It Take To Break a Habit?
You must have come across the idea that it takes 21 days to break a habit. This is just a myth, and studies reveal that it could take longer to change or break free from a habit.
To ensure you find it easy to break a habit, consider implementing the following pointers:
Determine what usually triggers you to adopt certain behaviors. For instance, if you’re tempted to snack when you shouldn’t be doing it, determine the specific triggers that initiate this habit. Maybe you snack when you’re stressed, or you find yourself snacking when watching your favorite show. Knowing your triggers can help you establish the best way of breaking them. It helps to try journaling here.
Change Your Environment
How about changing your environment first. It’s daunting to kick away the bad habits while the same triggers surround you. For example, if you want to quit smoking, you can’t hang around people who smoke. Why punish yourself by sticking close to people who smoke? The same goes for other unhealthy habits. Aim to alter your environment because it will help you to avoid common temptations that lure you into doing what you’re trying to avoid.
We often ignore the relevance of having an accountability partner when struggling with bad habits. However, the truth is that social pressure can help keep you on track. People who’ve lost weight usually attribute their success to friends and family who helped them. So, find an accountability partner who will constantly remind you why you started in the first place.
Replace Bad Habits with Good Habits
Breaking the bad habits can be as simple as replacing them with new, healthier habits. Instead of snacking on junk foods in the evening, take healthier foods. Swap the unhealthy snacks with healthier options. For instance, drinking a smoothie can silence your hunger pangs. You will be fuller for longer. The best part is that you’ll end up feeling good about your food choices.
Reward yourself more often because that’s how your brain will learn the positive benefits of the good habits you’ve developed. Similarly, rewarding yourself motivates you to do more of the same thing again. So, if you exercised today, your reward system will inspire you to exercise regularly for the rest of the year.
As you still ponder on the question, “how long does it take to break a habit,” the best thing you can gift yourself is to be patient. Sure, you might be looking for signs that you’ve changed and turned over into a new leaf. However, having high expectations will only lead to frustrations. Give yourself time to change and heal. Don’t be too hard on yourself because change doesn’t happen overnight. It helps to remind yourself that good things take time.
How long does it take to break a habit? Well, the best answer to this question is – It depends! Far from what science tells us, the length of time to break bad habits and develop new ones will depend on many factors. Don’t rush things hoping that you will become a new person the following morning. Be patient with yourself and remember to reward yourself continuously. Eventually, you will be proud of YOU for walking in this direction. It’s a worthy cause, and there’s no doubt that breaking bad habits will help you become the best version of yourself.
More importantly, remember to work with an accountability partner. Moral support will take you a long way to transforming into the new you.