Did you know that 80% of the population never set goals for themselves? And out of the 20% who do, 70% of them fail to achieve their goals. There are many reasons why people don’t accomplish their goals, but one big reason is that it takes time to change our habits. According to a study by Dr. Phillippa Lally, it takes on average 66 days to create a new habit, not 21 days like we read about on the internet. She conducted a study where she recruited 96 people who were interested in forming a new, daily habit and monitored them over 12 weeks. Each day participants were asked to self-report on how “automatic” their new, self-chosen habit felt, including whether it felt “hard not to do” or if they could do it “without thinking.”
The results were highly varied. For some participants, they only needed 18 days for a behavior to become a habit. For others, it didn’t feel second nature after 254 days, although the researchers predicted the hold-outs would get there eventually. On average, it took participants 66 days to solidify their new habit.
So how do you create a new habit?
Consistency is key. Challenge yourself to take small steps every day or create a schedule where you are doing this new habit on a regular basis. I like to add it to my calendar and sometimes I even set an alarm so that I don’t forget to do it (or make up an excuse for why I can’t today).
Be Imperfect. Those of us who are perfectionists, we tend to stop ourselves from taking action because we want to make sure we first know how to do it perfectly. Allow yourself to be imperfect, it’s going to take time and practice before you get really good at this new habit. The only person judging you is yourself. Be kind to yourself and try to have fun with it.
Do it with a buddy. Having someone to check in with and hold you accountable will keep you motivated and encourage you when you’re wanting to give up.
Celebrate yourself. Even if it feels silly, tell yourself how proud you are of moving towards your goals. It all takes effort, commitment and changing your mindset. It’s not easy, so when you accomplish a goal, reward yourself to keep the momentum going.
Join a Mastermind. Masterminds are a supportive place to take actions towards your goals. And with assigned homework you will be creating new habits and reprogramming old beliefs that are keeping you stuck. You will start to feel confident and trust yourself more. And you will be encouraged to set a bigger goal for yourself to keep growing.