As we know, when it comes to our health our habits are everything. Our health is made up of the thousands of little decisions we make every week. Everybody has heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. Just like most things in life, the answer is not that straight forward and includes some shades of grey.
Our goal in forming a healthy habit is that the healthy action becomes automatic. Automaticity means the healthy action doesn’t require extra work and extra thought to accomplish. We simply “just do It.” The more automatic healthy habits we can stack up in a day and week the healthier we become. And because habits endure, so will our health. This is the ultimate goal.
So how long does it take to form a habit? Well, as you can see in the graph created by James Clear (author of Atomic Habits), habit forming is based on repetition, not time. Once you have repeated the healthy action enough times consistently, it passes the line of automaticity. At point A you may have done the habit 10 times. At point B, 20 times. But not until a little before point C does the habit become automatic. The number of times you need to do something consistently for it to become a habit is different for each action and person. An individual doing the healthy action 30 times in 15 days is a lot more likely to form a habit than someone who does the healthy action 7 times in 15 days.
When working to form a new habit, do it a lot and do it consistently. Eventually, you will achieve automaticity!
You got this!