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Forming Habits

By, Kim Beach

A habit, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is defined as “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up”. If you ask Google ‘how long does it take to form a habit’, you will find a lot of results that will say 21-days, or three-weeks. Alternatively, a recent study has shown that it takes, on average, 66-days to form a habit. The low end of the range was 18-days and the high end of the range was 254-days. It typically takes more than 21-days because we must rewire our brains and change how we react to specific cues. So how do we do that?

Here are some solutions to creating healthier habits:

  • Create “if- then” plans. Think about barriers or challenges before you come across them. What will you do when you encounter that obstacle?

  • Focus on one or two behaviors or habits at a time.

  • Select cues for completing those healthy habits. Some examples of this include walking after each meal or setting an alarm to complete a task.

  • Never make an exception or excuse for your habit. Make the decision and hold yourself accountable.

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