There is so much written about changing old habits and creating new ones. There is also a lot of advice about how to do it and how much time it will take. I remember reading something once where is was said that it only takes 21 days to make a new habit – really?? are you sure??? 21 days!!!.
How many times have you started doing something, a new habit or doing something differently and even after a month, two months or even four months, you lapsed back into your old ways. It doesn’t take much, does it? And we all do it. Then it is so easy to give up and not try again.
It seems that nowadays there is so much emphasis on quick change. And occasionally it does happen if you have a massive mind shift. It depends on how much you want it and how much embedded it is in your unconscious mind. Mostly, it takes time. The other day I was reading a book** I have had for a long time on yoga. Now I am a bit of a long term on & off yoga person – I started it when I was about 12 and if you really want to know the truth, I’m more off than on – yes, I haven’t made it a habit yet. Anyway, in the book I came across an explanation of the yogic cycles of time and the specific cycles of time it takes to change old habits and create new ones. So here it is:
To change an old habit into a new positive one – 40 days
To confirm the new habit in you – 90 days
To allow the habit to become who you are – 120 days
To ensure that you have mastered the habit – 1,000 days
Well, I don’t know about you but I felt much better when I read that. I realise now that it is fine to feel like wanting to relapse after a month or two or even three – it is actually normal.
A lot of people put themselves down when they resume an old habit after a few months but looking at the yogic cycles, it will take about 6 months to entrench the new habit into you AND approximately 2 years and 9 months years to master that new habit. 21 days does NOT a habit make.
It’s OK to experience feelings of wanting to give up, it is normal to feel like that. The trouble is that so many of us do just that – we give up, and too early according to the yogic cycles. The easy way is to accept that you feel like giving up, but don’t buy into that feeling; think of it as hmm…. just like that chair over there, an object that you can observe without feeling like you have to go and attach yourself to it. I mean, come on, how stupid would you look going everywhere with a chair stuck to you. Accept that it will take time to become the change, and to be that change, unconsciously and easily. In other words, PUT THAT CHAIR DOWN!!
It takes more than a few grains of sand to make a beach
It takes more than a few floors to make a high rise
It takes more than a few drops of salt water to make an ocean
It takes more than a couple of mountains to make a mountain range
It takes more than a few dozen panels to make the Guggenheim
So too it will take more than a few weeks to create your new life.
I’d really like to hear what you think and what your habit changing journey is like
**Yoga for Women, by Shakta Kuar Khalsa . Published in 2002 by Dorling Kindersley Limited, London
- It’s A Lie: Why 21 Days Is Not Enough To Help You Build Lasting Habits (healthmoneysuccess.com)