Habit is a process of repeating something continuously. If one is not aware of the rewards of regular actions, it leads to bad habits. Bad habits lead to health, moral and ethical issues in life. If you are aware of your regular habits, it leads to good health, happiness in life.
Humans have always been asking this question, how long does it take to break a habit or form a new one?.
If you become conscious of your bad habits and its repercussions, you want to break it as soon as possible. You take some preliminary steps to get over the mechanical actions associated with the habit but you are not sure when can you get over it.
Maxwell Maltz was a plastic surgeon in 1950. He accidentally discovered a strange patron among his patients. Whenever someone got a nose surgery, it would take them about 3 weeks, around 21 days to mentally accept the new facial change. Same was the case of patients with an arm, leg amputated. Patients typically get used to the new change around three weeks.
Dr. Maltz was surprised by this behavior of patients. He decided to apply this to himself and find out the time period it will take to break an old or form a new habit. He noticed it took him around 21 days to form a new habit.
These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.”
The above quote was published in one of the best selling books of all time in the ’60s with over 30 million copies sold. The book name is Psycho-Cybernetics.
With the passage of time, somehow the mentors and motivation speakers have specified the time limit to precisely 21 days. However. Dr. Maltz never emphasized on precisely 21 days, his research always suggest about 3 weeks, approximately 21 days.
Another popular belief states that it takes 28 days to form a new habit or break an old one.
“You must live consciously for 4 weeks, deliberately focusing on the changes that you wish to make. After the 4 weeks are up, only a little effort should be needed to sustain it.” – Jon Rhodes
This video clears the 2 biggest misconceptions about forming a habit.