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Leadership Wisdom

Developing New Habits in 65 Days

New research suggests that a new habit takes 65 days to develop, not the 21 days formerly thought.

  • What are the benefits of the new habit? Come up with a word that expresses this benefit for you. Repeat that word when you need some extra motivation. A word works better than a sentence. For example, I can say to myself: “I will be organized, and I will have more time for important projects. I will be more focused. I will have a clear mind.” It all sounds good, but my subconscious says: “No, you won’t, so why bother?” On the other hand, if I just use brief “punch” words “focus and clarity,” I have a better chance of avoiding the subconscious sabotage.

  • How could you be reminded about your commitment? To strengthen your commitment by writing it down and putting it up somewhere in a high-traffic area of your home or office. You can also exhibit it on your calendar or to do list.

  • Who could you tell about your plan? We have a higher sense of obligation, when we publicly acknowledge our commitments.

  • When could you schedule the time to do your new routine every day of the 65-day period? When you have a specific time allocated to it, it’s more likely that you are going to do it.

  • What friend is also developing a new habit so you both can keep each other accountable and celebrate the progress. It is amazing how powerful it is when we simply tell another person what we are working on.

  • How will you reward yourself once you complete the desired task? Couple your new behavior with something pleasant that you do every day. Make sure you perform your new routine first.

  • How could role play possibly help you? If you feel too much pressure, pretend that you are just temporarily (for 65 days) playing a role of that “new and improved” individual to see how it fits you. Generally, people don’t like change. They may try to persuade themselves that they do, but their subconscious blocks the efforts. The role-play may be a way around it. Find an actor inside you. It can be fun to walk in somebody else’s shoes for a bit.

  • Who is a person whose good habits you want to emulate that you could enlist in your support group? Ask how they do it. One way to learn to do something is through modeling the behavior of those who do it really well. You watch them in action, break down their performance into a set of learnable steps and imitate them.

What New habit would bring the most significant change to your life? Share in Comments!