Oh I Have Plenty of Time – Wait, What?

At the start 2015, much like 2014 and the year before and the year before – we all set new goals. You know the kind.

  1. I am Going to Read More
  2. Be Nicer to People
  3. Work Out
  4. Eat Better
  5. Run a Marathon
  6. Do Something Awesome

No put this into perspective, we have 92 days until the lights go down and we start another year. Did you get your resolutions completed? Did you hit the goals you set out for yourself? If the answer is no or if you have something yet to achieve, put this into perspective. You can make some major life changes in 90 days. I know this personally as I have done fitness or diet challenges in this time frame that have brandished huge results.

We don’t have to give up or feel like a failure – there is a ton of time left in 2015.



But how long does it take to form a new habit? What does science tell us? 

Maxwell Maltz was a plastic surgeon in the 1950s when he began noticing a strange pattern among his patients.

When Dr. Maltz would perform an operation — like a nose job, for example — he found that it would take the patient about 21 days to get used to seeing their new face. Similarly, when a patient had an arm or a leg amputated, Maltz noticed that the patient would sense a phantom limb for about 21 days before adjusting to the new situation.

These experiences prompted Maltz to think about his own adjustment period to changes and new behaviors, and he noticed that it also took himself about 21 days to form a new habit. Maltz wrote about these experiences and said, “These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.”

In 1960, Maltz published that quote and his other thoughts on behavior change in a book called Psycho-Cybernetics. The book went on to become an blockbuster hit, selling more than 30 million copies.

And that’s when the problem started.

You see, in the decades that followed, Maltz’s work influenced nearly every major “self-help” professional from Zig Ziglar to Brian Tracy to Tony Robbins. And as more people recited Maltz’s story — like a very long game of “Telephone” — people began to forget that he said “a minimum of about 21 days” and shortened it to: “It takes 21 days to form a new habit.”


On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. In Lally’s study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit. [1]

In other words, if you want to set your expectations appropriately, the truth is that it will probably take you anywhere from two months to eight months to build a new behavior into your life — not 21 days. ( Source Huffington Post ) 

So now that you know you have more than enough time to finish the year strong – what are you going to do?


Kolby I The Healthy Primate

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