Habits for the New Year
We are approaching two weeks into the New Year… how is everyone doing with their New Years’ Resolutions?!?!
Most resolutions don’t stick because they haven’t become habitual behaviors. I’ve always thought it took 21 days to form a new habit and I recently decided to put that statement to the test. I did a bit of research to find out why, and it turns out there is no data or scientific research that backs up “21 days to form a new habit”!
Apparently, it depends on several factors, but the long and short of it is this: habit formation to the point of automaticity can take anywhere from 18-254 days. The degree of difficulty of the habit and the individual person influence how easy it is for a new habit to become automatic. For example, it’s easier to train yourself to drink a glass of water after breakfast than to go for a daily run (uhh… duh… lol).
The whole point is this: if you want to make your New Year’s Resolution become an automatic habit, give it time. Keep at it, for a minimum of 18 days, and it can become something you do on autopilot. But don’t give up if it’s not automatic after 18 days… be patient and persistent. Depending on your personality and how easy or difficult the new behavior is, it could take up to 254 days for you to make this New Year’s Resolution stick!
One habit I see a lot in my clients is habitual body tension and stress. It’s often an unconscious behavioral movement pattern, in other words, we’re tense and don’t know it. I’m sure you’ve experienced this- you suddenly realize you’re holding your shoulders up in your ears and don’t know when that started or how long you’ve been holding it!
I love helping people increase their awareness of body tension and learn how to create new habits. There’s lots of ways to do this, but what it comes down to is lots of repetition– for 18-254 days, apparently! Taking a deep breath, getting a bit of exercise, or moving your body out of its stressful position are just some simple ways to create a new body habit.
Are you a mouth breather? Shallow breather? Hold your breath a lot? Non-optimal breath patterns have been associated with sleep apnea, bad breath, tooth decay, lack of energy, digestive issues, neck pain… the list goes on.
Want to calm your body anxiety? I’ve got a solution for you… I did this with a patient last week, and she was able to reduce her body anxiety symptoms (chest tightness, neck tension, knot in her gut) from a 7-9/10 down to a 3/10!
The Happiness Advantage. It’s a book I just finished reading and it’s been a game changer for me. There’s a concept in it you will find helpful, and it’s as simple as your ABCs + add a D.