We can find that from James Clear’s blog on the 21 days habit story by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.
Maxwell Maltz was a plastic surgeon in the 1950s when he began noticing a strange pattern among his patients.
When Dr. Maltz would perform an operation for example a nose job, he found that it would take the patient about 21 days to get used to seeing their new face. This is the same when a patient had an arm or a leg amputated, the patient would sense a phantom limb for about 21 days before adjusting to the new situation.
These experiences prompted Maltz to think about his own adjustment period to changes and new behaviors, and he noticed that it also took himself about 21 days to form a new habit. Maltz wrote about these experiences and said, “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.”
In 1960, Maltz published that quote and his other thoughts on behavior change in a book called Psycho-Cybernetics. The book went on to become an blockbuster hit, selling more than 30 million copies.
The question is how true is this?
To be frank, we don’t know the answer unless we try it!
The myth of making habits and breaking habits:
The habit formation is said as a function of three key criteria:
(1) Level of Commitment
(2) Internal and External Accountability
(3) Size of the Habit
The Secret is START NOW!
After all, it depends on individual on hwo long it takes to make or break a habit. At the end of the day, you have to put it to work, no excuses, no delay or whatsoever~
The only way to get to the END is to start with the 1st DAY. So forget about the days and focus on doing the work.
Brian Tracy has shared the 7 steps on how to develop a habit, you may check out below:
1) Make A Decision
First, make a decision. Decide clearly that you are going to begin acting in a specific way 100% of the time, whenever that behavior is required. For example, if you decide to arise early and exercise each morning, set your clock for a specific time, and when the alarm goes off, immediately get up, put on your exercise clothes and begin your exercise session.
2) Never Allow An Exception To Your New Habit
Second, never allow an exception to your new habit pattern during the formative stages. Don’t make excuses or rationalizations. Don’t let yourself off the hook. If you resolve to get up at 6:00 AM each morning, discipline yourself to get up at 6:00 AM, every single morning until this becomes automatic.
3) Tell Others You Are Practicing A New Behavior
Third, tell others that you are going to begin practicing a particular behavior. It is amazing how much more disciplined and determined you will become when you know that others are watching you to see if you have the willpower to follow through on your resolution.
4) Visualize Your New Habit
Fourth, visualize yourself performing or behaving in a particular way in a particular situation. The more often you visualize and imagine yourself acting as if you already had the new habit, the more rapidly this new behavior will be accepted by your subconscious mind and become automatic.
5) Create An Affirmation
Fifth, create an affirmation that you repeat over and over to yourself. This repetition dramatically increases the speed at which you develop the new habit. For example, you can say something like, “I get up and get going immediately at 6:00 AM each morning!” Repeat these words the last thing before you fall asleep. In most cases, you will automatically wake up minutes before the alarm clock goes off, and soon you will need no alarm clock at all.
6) Resolve To Persist
Sixth, resolve to persist in the new behavior until it is so automatic and easy that you actually feel uncomfortable when you do not do what you have decided to do.
7) Reward Yourself
Seventh, and most important, give yourself a reward of some kind for practicing in the new behavior. Each time you reward yourself, you reaffirm and reinforce the behavior. Soon you begin to associate, at an unconscious level, the pleasure of the reward with the behavior. You set up your own force field of positive consequences that you unconsciously look forward to as the result of engaging in the behavior or habit that you have decided upon.
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