It takes an average of 66 days to form a habit, the number of days left in 2017.
5 tips for creating new habits and making them stick once and for all. Make a change and start the New Year with momentum. Don't wait for a New Years Resolution.
Can you believe we have just a few weeks left in 2017? The holiday season is just around the corner and life is about to get crazier than normal.
We can either throw up our hands and tell ourselves that we’ll just defer our incomplete goals to next year, that life is just too busy.
Or, we can tell ourselves, this is amazing. There are 66 days left in the year and coincidentally, it takes 66 days to form a new habit. This is perfect timing!
First, a quick reminder on the definition of a habit (I’m not trying to bring up memories from 7th grade English. Stay with me, I’ll reference this a little further down). A habit is a routine or behavior that is repeated regularly and by our subconscious.
I have some good news and bad news about this 66 day concept. The good news is that it takes 66 days to form a new habit! If you’re like me, there have been so many times that I last a few days or maybe a few weeks on a new habit, and then I start feeling deflated because the progress isn’t happening fast enough. Or, I miss a few days on my new habit, and tell myself I need to start over because it wasn’t perfect. Can you relate?
Anyway, the fact that it takes 66 days is great news because that means we most likely just haven’t worked toward the new habit long enough. Our past ‘failures’, are not failures, they are merely incomplete attempts!
Now the bad news about the 66 days…. the bad news is that it takes 66 days to form a new habit! That’s a long time in our ‘instant gratification’ mindset. But, that’s okay, I have a way to fix this through the 5 steps below (especially #3 and #4).
In this post, I will share 5 tips for successfully creating these new habits. The approach I will share is very realistic given it is the end of the year, and we will have so much on our plates (literally and figuratively).
Is there a goal or two that you REALLY want to complete before 2018? Have you tried to accomplish the goal and keep failing? What habit is important to put in place to reach that goal?
Decide on what you want to accomplish and then dive into these 5 tips:
1. Start small
Seriously, take my word on this. I am the queen of deciding to change too much at once, and then getting overwhelmed. Instead, decide on one or two habits you want to build into your sub-conscious and then focus on those. You can build upon the habits after the initial 66 days. Here are a few examples:
- If you don’t exercise regularly, commit to exercising 15 minutes a day for 66 days.
- If you are having a challenge with your nutrition, commit to drinking 80 oz of water a day for 66 days.
- If you want to be more patient and calm, commit to waking up 15 minutes earlier each morning to start the day with peace and intention.
- If you want to be more present with your kids, commit to blocking off a set amount of time each day for non-technology related activities for 66 days.
- If your goal is to get your finances under control, commit to keep track of your expenses in an app for the next 66 days.
You get the idea. Choose something you CAN and WILL accomplish and set yourself up for success.
2. Track the habits daily to keep them at the forefront of your mind and see your progress.
Find a system that works for you and then do it, everyday. You can use
- A simple notebook with a grid that has the 66 days and the habits listed (again, don’t go crazy, just pick 1 or 2).
- An app that you can track your progress each day with green for complete and red for incomplete. I love these because they’re so visual and easy-to-use. There are a bunch of options out there but my two favorites are:
- Way of Life
- Habit Share
The key is to find a system that works for you and then use it, daily.
3. Acknowledge before you start that you might not be perfect and that’s okay.
There is a fine line between giving yourself permission to ‘cheat’ on your new habit and acknowledging that you might miss a day or two. Tell yourself that you will commit 100% to do your best and if you miss a day, you will not stop. You will keep going, that you are focused on progress over perfection.
I recommend putting this agreement in writing to yourself.
4. Tell yourself that you are trying this as an experiment.
I LOVE this approach. So often, we have a hard time making a change because it seems so overwhelming. We think to ourselves that we are changing something for the rest of our lives and our imagination goes wild. How could I possibly live without cheese for every meal, that is just not realistic? It seems so heavy and burdensome.
Instead, tell yourself that you’re conducting a 66-day experiment. You are creating a new habit to replace an old habit. You will evaluate after the 66 days is over, to see how you feel, how you look, if you’ve grown, and if you like the new lifestyle. Then, you will decide whether or not to continue with the new habit after the 66 days ends. This feels so much easier and less overwhelming. It’s just an experiment, we can do that!
5. Find an accountability partner
This has been my key in the past. I’m not great at keeping commitments to myself but damned if I’ll let someone else down. Maybe you’re the same way? Or, maybe you love the social aspect and it really motivates you to participate. Whatever it is, there is magic in having someone to work with in creating new habits. Find a friend or family member who has a similar goal and form a partnership with them. Talk about
- How often you’ll check in
- How you’ll check in (text, FB PM, etc)
- How you want your partner to handle it if you stop responding – will you need tough love, or a phone call, or some space?
Try these 5 tips for creating new habits and making them stick.
Again, we have a lot going on for the rest of the year. Don’t take on too much. Find simple habits that can be building blocks to your larger goals and get started right away. You have 66 days to make them a habit! I know you can do it this time!
If you’d like to watch my recent FB Live on this topic, here is the link: 66 Days and 5 Tips. Create New Habits Once and For All
Leave me a comment and let me know what habits you’ll work on and how it’s going for you. I look forward to hearing about your success!