It Takes 30 Days to Create a Habit…or Something

1073c58a05c0370f4a4b27f9ab3a5989I’ve always been told it take 30 days to make or break a habit. The 21 Day Fix claims to be able to do it even faster. I Googled the question and I found the following answers:
30 days
21 days
28-30 days
50 days
84 days
“It depends.”

I decided to put my yoga membership on hold while I go through The 21 Day Fix and I realized…wow. I’m already in the habit of working out after I drop my son off at school. This should be a pretty easy transition. But will it really?! I’ll bet after 4 months it would still be pretty easy to back out of my workouts. Even with the whole thing taking place in my own living room I could still make an excuse like, “Weeeell, the heat coming off of my body would probably throw off the AC system and I don’t want our electric bill to go up…”

But that begs the question, how did I create that habit going to yoga everyday?

Truth be told, I don’t know if I did. I mean I realized today that my habit of going to yoga after 4 months is pretty well ingrained in me, but it wasn’t the first few weeks! And it’s still just as hard some days to drag myself to practice as it was that first week.

I also haven’t smoked a single cigarette in 4 months. I wasn’t a smoker, but socially I’d puff along. A majority of the time I don’t really miss it. But every once in a while, it’s just as hard as it was 4 months ago to keep from trotting on over to 7-11 and grabbing a pack.

I think the point is that scientific evidence is all well and good, but I don’t buy that you can make or break a habit reliably without actual effort. Any AA graduate can tell you that staying sober never becomes a “habit”, like something they don’t have to try anymore. They remind themselves everyday not to drink…as I remind myself everyday to peel myself out of bed, put on clothes that are even semi-presentable to the general public, POSSIBLY brush my hair, and drive my car to the yoga studio. It all. takes. effort.

I’ve always figured once I did something long enough, I wouldn’t have to think about it anymore. It would become easy, or I’d LIKE the change. Now I’m not sure that’s true about anything. Everything takes conscious awareness and action. Brushing my teeth, cleaning the kitchen, grocery shopping, laundry…hell, just about everything outside of slapping my happy ass down on the couch and watching Oprah for 12 hours takes EFFORT. So if you think that you’re going to become a healthy eater/physically fit/bikini ready in 21 days, you won’t. You might not in 90 days…you might not in 120 days! But you DO get to decide everyday what you do, what you make time for, and what habits you CHOOSE to continue.

Uuuuugh. More personal responsibility…

 

 

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