DAY 21 - It Takes 21 Days to Change a Habit (Really?)

Making a commitment to change isn't easy; but does it really take 21 days to make that change a habit?

 James Clear

James Clear

I decided to do some reading up on this, and if there was some science behind it.  I came across an interesting article online by James Clear, 'How Long Does it Actually Take to Form a New Habit?', and it made much more sense to me.  

My habit changing journey certainly did not take as little as 21 days.  I will agree that keeping up with a consistent exercise routine started to get easier on my body after the first 3 weeks. That initial week was definitely tough!  And I had set backs. Not long ones. But if I had set myself up for perfection, I certainly would never have achieved what I have now and would still be re-starting Day 1 over and over. 


In these last 21 days I decided to test the theory.  My goal was to clean up the eating, and no alcohol.  As expected the first week was really tough; and heading into the first weekend of not even one glass of 'something' was killer!  By the second week I resigned myself to the fact that I didn't have to record everything I ate. But that's only because I already won that battle a long time ago. It just took a little reminder of bringing my food choices into my awareness to fix a summer of indulgence.  I made it to Day 19 before I caved and had a drink.  I'm not beating myself up about it, I caved, I'm not perfect.  But I did notice some healthy changes from avoided the regular summer patio fun.  My skin was less dry, I lost the weight I gained over the summer, and my overall energy is back up to where it usually is. 

In 21 days I made some changes, I stumbled a little, but I got back on track.  The changes I made were not new to me, they have been part of my life for 2,067 days to be exact (I had to take a moment to calculate that one!).   So it was easy to get back to my pre-summer weight and fitness level. 

If you must, use 21 days as a starting point.  Create attainable goals, not quick fixes.  Don't let road blocks or little mistakes discourage you, keep moving forward. Pretty soon 21 will become 42, will become 4,000 days.  Better yet, you will just forget about the number all together.  It takes work and dedication; check ins along the way.  Eventually, when it finally becomes a way of life, you don't have to think … you just do.