According to Dr. Maxwell Maltz, author of Psycho-Cybernetics, it takes a minimum of about 21 days.
Based on research by Dr. Phillippa Lally and colleagues from UK Health Behavior Research Centre, it takes an average of 66 days.
Pursuant to an assortment of studies and statistics collectively published by the psychology and self-improvement industries it varies depending on the scope of difficulty.
Now granted, while this may be a relatively brief synopsis, the sources above largely sum up the amount of time experts estimate it takes to effectively form a new habit and/or establish a new behavior.
So, if so inclined, how long would you suspect it might take you?
Personally I find it a bit hard to believe that anyone can accurately predict how much time it’ll take you to effectively, “change your ways.”
Moreover, I honestly don’t think it’s of any great importance.
In his bestselling book, Make the Impossible Possible, Bill Strickland writes,
“It is learning how to capture and recreate the feelings we want in our lives that ultimately changes our behavior.”
Now that I’d venture to say is some astute advice.
Then again, if you’re dubious as to what those feelings might be then I highly doubt Mr. Strickland’s counsel will be of much help.
And if this happens to be true in your case, then allow me to acquaint you with a couple that just might tickle your fancy.
Not to mention, be well worth your while to pursue.
I was thirteen, and after knuckling under to months of begging and pleading my parents finally bought me my first drum kit for Christmas that year, one I vigorously walloped on in the privacy of my ‘70’s rock band poster-plastered bedroom for all of about six months before moving on to my other childhood infatuation ꟷ dirt bikes.
Following a short and humiliating string of being smoked one too many times on race day I bought myself a second drum kit, pieced together a make-do four piece garage band that rattled the neighborhood a couple of times a week until things eventually fizzled out due to reasons I’m still not quite clear on.
At any rate, fast forward some twenty years, I get my third kit, and while my zeal for a driving drum beat remains intact my haphazard attempt at reviving my boyhood dream of drumming acclaim loosely consists of playing whenever the urge happens to hit.
If I’m tired from a long day at work I likely blow it off.
If someone mentions happy hour I hit the door runnin’.
So, do you notice a pattern here?
Do you recognize any less than productive habits of behaviors in need of change?
In the words of Joan Jett, “I Love Rock N' Roll,” but I'd be remiss if I didn't give a thunderous shout out to the blues as well, because it was in the midst of a rather melancholy/blue period in my adult life that I decided to take a sober look in the proverbial mirror. And as result, make myself a hard-nosed promise:
To play a little each and every day.
And much to my delight/surprise that’s just what I did, and continued to do, for nearly five consecutive years.
Looking back now, those were some of the most illuminating years of my life. I was playing better than I’d ever played and enjoying it more then I ever had. But aside from cultivating my drumming ability, I’d also unearthed a few things about myself along the way. Things that, quite honestly, made me feel pretty darn good.
So, how did I come about this feeling you ask?
Simple. By changing my ways.
By willfully shifting from fickle to unfaltering.
By going from being routinely inconsistent to being relentlessly persistent.
Mind you, I’d still miss a day or two from time to time, but the undeniable difference was, I now knew exactly what I was missing.
Now, can I pinpoint the definite time and day this tell-all feeling first swept over me?
No I can’t.
Can I tell you precisely how long it took to “capture” this insanely satisfying feeling?
But this much I can tell you:
When you make an ongoing commitment to something for any appreciable amount of time you’ll know when you start to hit your stride.
You’ll feel the effects of your efforts begin to take hold.
And this is what I mean when I say, you’ll know.
What you won’t know at this point, however, is that as invigorating as this inaugural feeling may be, you ain’t felt nothin’ yet.
You ain’t felt the follow-up, or shall we say, the "follow-through" feeling.
In other words, you ain't felt the magic.
The magic…of momentum.
And believe me, while I’d like nothing more than to describe this forthcoming feeling to you I’m afraid that any attempt would be utterly futile, because it is truly indescribable.
“Momentum begets momentum,” says Gil Penchina, “and the best way to start is to start.”
So, whaddaya say?
Are you up for a little heart-stirring satisfaction?
Do you wanna feel the magic?
If so, then I urge you to toss aside any preconceived notions of how long it might take to form a new habit and/or establish a new behavior, and instead, start getting in the habit of zeroing in on that which will likely give you the most goosebumps.
Then, simply get to it. Stay with it! Give it the undivided time and attention it rightly deserves.
Do so on a steady basis and soon you too will begin to feel the nudging effects of momentum lifting your spirit and moving your soul.
“The greatest accomplishment is the feeling,” said the late great Mr. Jim Rohn
I say, he couldn't have been more dead-on accurate.
See ya soon, till then, keeep it up.