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How To Stop Wasting Time

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The Duration Of Habit Formation

The Duration Of Habit Formation

People thinking about forming good habits often get stuck. They get preoccupied with a question that feels hopeful. But it’s actually hollow inside. In particular, looking for the answer to: How many days does it take to form a habit?

There is no point.

If you want to know how many days does it take to form a habit, here’s what the experts say:

According to a study done by the European Journal of Social Psychology. For a person to form a new habit, and for this habit to become a kind of automatic behaviour, it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days. Commonly, the number is 66 days


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The 21 Day Myth

The 21 Day Myth

According to productivity experts, if a person commits to doing something – anything – for 21 days straight.

This thing will supposedly become automatic behaviour that doesn’t require any effort. This is not true. 

For example, if you want to lose weight, you should focus on exercising and carefully considering what you eat, not that if three weeks are over!


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The Incentive Behind How Many Days Does It Take to Form a Habit

The Incentive Behind How Many Days Does It Take to Form a Habit

  • There's something powerful about knowing an end exists
  • Having a particular end date where things will supposedly become easier means being able to convince yourself that you can push through that number of days
  • If our initial conviction was that things will now be easier - automatic even - when we hit a particular date, we'll be quite disappointed when things remain hard


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How The Myth Took Formation

How The Myth Took Formation

In a famous book from the 1960s, Dr. Maxwell Malt 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."

21-days seems reasonable. Easy. Tweetable. Doable. Pretty much everyone can persist in doing something for 21 days.


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The Real Value: Get Started

The Real Value: Get Started

  • Your value system takes a drastic turn when you keep practising an activity you want to form as a habit.
  • Embarking on a habit-formation journey gives you the opportunity to figure out what you really value.
  • Persisting in doing something allows you to see which things are important to you.


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The Bottom Line

  • The essential thing is figuring out what tasks are worth keeping and what aren't.
  • When you stick to a certain activity for 21 days or more, you give yourself the opportunity to find if this new thing is valuable enough - for you - to keep doing it.
  • Regularly hitting the gym allows you to see how this activity can positively impact your body, mind, and life in general.


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