How long does it take to develop a new habit?
“Ask” Google and it takes 21-28 days. The number 21 may be founded on a book published by Dr. Maxwell Maltz (1960), who observed that, 'it took amputees 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb...and hypothesized that it takes 21 days to adjust to any major life event.'
Phillippa Lally, European Journal of Social Psychology, found that on average it took 66 days, with a range of 18 - 245 days, to change a habit. Two months is not a very long time to do something good for yourself!
Are you ready for a new challenge to make and keep your New Year resolution?
Here are my 7 tips on developing a new habit based on Taekwondo Tenets:
- Make your decision, set your goal. Make your goal attainable. In Taekwondo you progress from White Belt to Yellow Belt. This should be attainable in a specific amount of time, e.g. 2 months. Making many attainable baby steps will allow you to make the bigger leap...say, to become a Black Belt.
- Focus on your mission. No excuses, no exceptions. You want and need to do this...for YOU.
- Tell others. Create a support group. Your friends will want to see if you have the perseverance to follow through. You can show them you have the willpower...to accomplish anything you want to.
- Envision yourself as the New You. Visualization is a powerful tool and enhances your focus. The more often you “see” the New You, the faster your habit will develop.
- Affirm your commitment. Before my students attempt to break a board and graduate to the next belt, they turn to the audience...raise their arms above their head in a victory salute...and proclaim, “I’m going to break this board!” Teach yourself confidence!
- Resolve to keep doing this new behavior until it becomes a habit. Again, show perseverance. Schedule reminders in your calendar or phone.
- Give yourself a positive reward for practicing this new behavior. And with time you will have gotten a good start on your journey to a new healthy habit and...the New You!
Happy New Year! And prepare to welcome the New You!
Look for my weekly blog every Monday providing tips and insights from UMAC Briarcliff, "Living a Black Belt Life."