Habits and the Power We Give Them

Posted on: Jan 02, 2014

Categories: Goal Setting

Habits are powerful. They may be good or they may be bad, but there’s no denying the power they have over us.

As hard as it is to break bad habits, it can be just as hard to solidify new ones. Past research will tell you that you can form a habit in 28 days, but Philippa Lally’s study shows that it can actually take anywhere from 18 to 254 days, depending on the habit.

The problem with pretending that new habits are easy to form is that we give up too quickly. If it’s a struggle every day to get yourself out of bed and off to the gym, even after that magical 28-day mark, you may decide that working out isn’t for you.

You’re not alone. Starting this month, many will jump for the gym promotions and buy themselves a gym membership. According to TIME Magazine, by mid-February, 60% of those memberships will no longer be used.

Why is this? Why is it so difficult to make ourselves do the things we claim to want to do?

I’d say it’s because we aren’t response-able. We claim to have control over our actions, but in reality we spend most of our time just reacting to the world around us.

This week, challenge yourself to arrive to everything on your schedule 10 minutes early. I’m not going to promise that this exercise will forever rid you of your “late to everything” reputation and form a new “early bird” habit for you, but it may wake you up to the benefits of being on the early side of “on time.”

Who knows, you may find out that the real networking happens before the meeting, that you can actually get the best seat in the house, or that it’s relieving to take a moment to breathe before a big event.

If nothing else, challenge yourself to fight against old habits this week, to be response-able. Think before you act, and you will be amazed at the life you can create.

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