How long does it take to form new habits?
How can we shift from old habit to new habit and make the step changes sometimes required to improve our situation, life, and circumstance?
If you’re feeling lost in life, or you want to make significant change to your current situation, start a new business to create financial freedom or transform your life in another way – then making step changes with how you invest your time and in yourself is one of the most crucial steps to take.
I had an interesting discussion with my girlfriend yesterday about forming new habits, as she is currently studying interior design around a full time job and we are trying to work together on her time management. In particular, she is literally the worst at early rises and getting ahead of the day. Let’s face it, most of us are like this (queue the 7 am coffee rush!).
I am a massive fan of chasing the day, getting into it early and trying to start on the right foot. It doesn’t always happen mind you – but its good to have balance ;). But when I do get into it early and set myself up, I feel amazing and genuinely carry this energy through the rest of the day. It’s probably why I like binge drinking less and less these days.
It got me thinking though, about making that shift. My girlfriends new timetable meant that when we assessed her current time output on her studies – it would take her a whopping 5 years to complete a course that should take no more than 2 years, according the the study curriculum. A bit of an eye opener for her and we knew we needed to look at how we squeezed some time out of the week.
Deciding to try to utilise the mornings was a struggle for her, and I was adamant that we could form new habits in 30 days. I’d heard that somewhere, sometime. She wasn’t so convinced. And so I did some digging.
I use health-line a lot for my own nutrition education, and find their content both easy to read and well cited – and luckily they have written about this exact subject. It turns out that it can take anywhere from 18 – 254 days to form a new habit, depending on a number of factors. Let that sink in – up to 254 days to form a new habit! Wow. No wonder for some it can be such a challenge to create step-change in their life.
Importantly – and most fundamentally – the concept is simple, that you need to focus on doing the new thing every day for a minimum period of time before it becomes an automatic and changed habit. Easy to say, not so easy to do. But this is really important and I think the most important in today’s fast-paced and impatient world we live in. A lot of us (myself included) don’t want to go through the process of practicing patience and working hard to improve at something. But science says that new habits take time to form, so it goes by logic that if we are impatient then we will not form the habits required to make real change in our lives.
This is critical to consider when looking at online business and especially digital marketing. Think about it this way – it is thought that only up to 20% of marketing and advertisement campaigns actually work. In other words, it takes time and a lot of patience (and mistakes) to become successful at doing business online. If you want to be in it for the long haul, you need to learn how to form new habits and exercise patience in the process. Success really does not come overnight.
So what is the take away here? How can you use this information? Here’s how:
- Take some time to consider your current approach to life: What are you trying to improve in? And how do you go about this?
- Do you have enough patience to form new habits that may be required to succeed? Or do you start and then give up?
- If you want to make it in running an online business, it is imperative that you consider how you approach new challenges, new habits or new actions in order to succeed
- Consider your activity for the long term – quick wins and short term thinking, in the end, never win.