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How Long Does It Take To Adopt A New Habit: The 21-Day Challenge

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“Why 21 days?”

“It feels like one month doing the same things over and over.”

“I think it’s tiring.”

“Can I do it for one week or two weeks only?”

These are just some of the complaints we usually hear from people or even ourselves. We think that a 21-day challenge is already that long repeating action to be a habit. But the question is, WHY 21 DAYS? Does it have a scientific explanation? Is it that effective?

According to Dr. Maxwell Maltz in his bestselling book Psycho-Cybernetics,”Brain circuits take engrams (memory traces) which produce neuro connections and neuropathways only if bombarded for 21 days in a row. It means our brain doesn’t accept new data for a change of habit unless repeated each day consecutively for 21 days.”

Even though some sources and even studies disapproved of his theory, 21 days is already a comfortable period to build a new habit for self-help programs. I mean, it’s still better than being stuck with unhealthy useless habits forever. 

But why do we call it ‘The 21-Day Habit Trial Program’?

It is a self-help trial program consecutively done in 21 days to create a new habit you want. After 21 days, you can decide whether you want to continue making that habit, or you can go back to your old ones or try another new thing.

Why do I need to try a Trial Program first?

Here are reasons why we need a trial before deciding to continue making a habit:

1. You can do your research and self-reflection activities

A 21-Day Habit Trial Program can help you research what habits you can build or what new things you need to practice in life.

You can also do self-reflection activities like making time for yourself alone, being with nature, or just being in a quiet place. You can do meditating and self-reflecting about the things you’re going to improve, values you need to magnify, stuff you want to eradicate, and many more. So, don’t forget to take notes of it and make a list.

Related: Want to Feel Better Each Day? Here are 12 Habits You Should Keep

2. No commitments

This self-help program helps you decide whether a habit you’re trying is comfortable for you or not. After 21 days challenge, you can go back to the things you used to do before or try another one that fits you. There’s no real commitment here. After all, you’re the one who decides for yourself.

3. It’s a great way to build good habits

Suppose you’re really into something big and visionary mission. In that case, this 21-day challenge is a great way to build new habits for you to establish a Better You 101 perfect for New Year’s Resolution. Lol.

Though it sounds ridiculous for us sometimes, the 21-Day Trial Program helps us get motivated on things that would make us better. After all, that’s the goal and the main point here. IT’S FOR YOU TO BE BETTER!

Related: 5 Morning Habits of Successful People

4. It’s also an effective avenue for trying and exploring new things

And yes! It’s also an effective avenue in trying things out. There are tons of things we want to do in our lives. Something we’re curious of how it would work with us and what’s the result perhaps.

So, this ‘no commitment program’ can also help us explore new things we thought we could never do or we thought we could never have. Yes, curiosity kills, but sometimes curiosity rocks. Therefore, never limit yourself on things you haven’t tried, as long as it would bring no harm to you.

5. It helps you track your progress and make a self-observation in 21 days

This program also helps you track your progress, whether you’re improving or not. It also enables you to observe the pros and cons of the habits you’re trying to build.

You can evaluate too whether it is beneficial or harmful. You can also track whether it’s worth the try or worth dropping. Remember, you are the captain of your life, so you are also the one who knows what’s good for you and what isn’t.

Related: How Simple Habits Can Lead to Healthier Lifestyle

6. It helps you decide whether you can continue a habit or not

At the end of this Self-Help Program, you can decide whether to continue it or not. Remember that there’s no commitment here, and you can go back to the old you. If you think it does a dramatic change that helps you be better, you can continue it for life or as long as you want. After all, good habits are beneficial for our growth as a person, so you deserve a treat for that.

It might all sound easy for you right now reading all of these. But remember, the first couple of days, or even it might take a week, you’ll feel procrastination, especially if you’re making a habit that is opposite to what you’re often doing. And you might also feel resistance that makes you pull back to the old habits you’re doing. If you think of such kind of pressure or even emotional distress, but you want something good and better outcome, DON’T GIVE UP! Train yourself to focus on your goals because it takes 21 days or three weeks of habit repetition for your brain to accept new habits.

Before you write your list of do’s and don’ts you want to start building in this 21-Day Habit Trial Program, I want to share with you my favorite quotation from George Bernard Shaw. He said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

So, always do what would make you happy, do the best things for you, and do the things you love.  It is YOU who matters most.

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