You may need a nine month plan if you wish to acquire new habits

Wednesday, 13 October, 2010

While it has been suggested that changing habits will result in a life that is longer and fuller, you may need to allow several months to pick up whatever new habits you wish to acquire.

Recent research into the subject found it takes about 66 days before a new habit becomes automatic to the point you no longer need to prompt yourself to do what you want to, though in some cases it may take the best part of nine months for a new activity to become routine.

The average time to reach maximum automaticity was 66 days, although this varied greatly between participants from 18 days to a predicted 254 days (assuming the still rising rate of change in automaticity at the study end were to be continued beyond the study’s 84 days). This is much longer than most previous estimates of the time taken to acquire a new habit – for example a 1988 book claimed a behaviour is habitual once it’s been performed at least twice a month, at least ten times. In fact, even after 84 days, about half of the current study participants had failed to achieve a high enough automaticity score for their new behaviour to be considered a habit.

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No matter what you do the laws of human nature can’t be broken

Tuesday, 22 December, 2009

Ok, so we’re not quite as unique and individual was we thought we were, there seems to be a law of human nature covering our every thought and action

We’re used to the idea that nature is governed by laws that spell out how things work. But the idea that human nature is governed by such laws raises hackles. Perhaps because of this, they have often been proposed with tongue in cheek – which makes it all the more disconcerting when they turn out to be backed up by evidence.

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