|Webster's dictionary defines habit as a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance. And an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary. Basically, if you do something enough times it should become second nature; you do it without thinking.
Researchers can't seem to agree on how long it should take to learn or unlearn a habit. The days vary from 17, to 21, up to 30, and so on. A lot of it depends on the individual and the habit you want to work on.
For me, it seemed that 21 days was the magic number. When I stopped smoking the first three weeks were extremely difficult to get through. Once I made it that far it was only a few more days until I had been stopped for a month. Thirty days of being smoke-free seemed impossible when I first started, but now it's been three years.
This time around I have decided to focus on my physical being--that which is fat and middle aged. I can't do anything about my age. I'll always be at least this age, probably not any older though. That leaves the fat and that is something I can work on. Before you get too excited and start wringing your hands and shaking your head because you think all I'm going to talk about is losing weight, you can just calm it because that ain't going to happen. Trust me, I do not want to hear about how many pieces of lettuce I can eat or that I lost a pound after weigh in because I had an excellent bowel movement.
Now, that finally gets me to where I am today. Today is my day off, and so is tomorrow. For the last 21 days, I have been forming new habits. I ate a mostly low carb diet, I drank 8 glasses of water, and I exercised every day. (I did have a jelly donut one day because I had crazy PMS.) I made a chart and put it on the fridge and I checked the 21 days off, one by one. If I made it through I promised myself a nice reward, which is a half hour massage over at the day spa. That's something worth trying for, right?
Anyhow, I'm allowing myself two days off before I begin my second 21 days. I'm not going to go eat a bunch of junk, because I have most of the bad stuff out of my system now. I'll probably keep drinking my fluids too and my body has gotten used to more movement. It took me 21 days to form these new habits, I lost some weight, I'm getting around better and my complexion looks great. No, I don't think I'll take two days off, these new habits are definitely worth keeping.