It takes about a month to form a new habit. More accurately, twenty-eight days, “they” say. Anything from a new diet or exercise regimen to a new attitude. After the month is up, you probably won’t even second guess going to the gym, art class or your meditation spot.
But what about breaking habits? This is a tough one.
You might say, well, I’ll just make the opposite my habit. In other words, if I just don’t smoke for twenty-eight days… Not so easy. When a habit is formed, it’s harder than that to break, as everyone knows.
From my teens into my twenties I was a smoker. I didn’t smoke a lot but I loved smoking in my car. Driving, smoking, and drinking my coffee in the morning was my happy place. Honestly, it still sounds inviting, even though I know that now, just one drag from a cigarette has me sick for the rest of the day.
Before I got a car I was noticing I was winded pretty quickly on my bike – embarrassing for a twenty-six-year-old. When I finally got a new car, I decided I wasn’t going to smoke in it. I really stuck to my guns too. It was really hard, but I just tried to focus on the new car smell and it got me there. So my car smelled great but now I was the walking ashtray. Eventually, smoking just before I went into the office became a hassle and I gave it up completely.
It wasn’t as easy as it sounds but my point is that I made it happen by focusing on what I want, rather than what I didn’t want. I wanted to be healthy and smell nice. I tried to keep that my goal, rather than, “Quitting is so hard,” or “Quitting is impossible.”
Since summer has finally arrived I’ll be using this technique to quit the potato chips. Also, since “they” say you are what you eat, I will focus on looking like celery, not a potato.
Whatever your habit is, find a way to kick it that works for you – find a great incentive and focus on that amazing end result, rather than the difficulties. This, plus your will to make it just a mere twenty-eight (not even thirty) days, will go a long way to forming new, healthy habits you’ll be happy to keep.
Any other summer resolutions? What’s the game plan? I’d love to hear it in the comments!