How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit?
Breaking a habit is not easy. It takes time, effort, and consistency. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how long it takes to break a habit, as the amount of time will vary depending on the individual and the habit. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you determine how long it might take you to break your habit.
The 21-day rule
You may have heard the saying that it takes 21 days to break a habit. This is a myth that has been around for many years, but there is no scientific evidence to support it. In fact, research suggests that it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to break a habit.
The 90-day rule
Another common misconception is that it takes 90 days to break a habit. This is also not true. However, 90 days is a more realistic timeframe for forming a new habit. Once you have successfully formed a new habit, it will take about 90 days for it to become automatic.
The factors that affect the time it takes to break a habit
The amount of time it takes to break a habit will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- The strength of the habit
- The motivation to change
- The availability of triggers
- The presence of support
- The individual's personality and coping mechanisms
How to break a habit
If you are determined to break a habit, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success:
- Identify your triggers. What are the things that make you want to engage in the habit? Once you know your triggers, you can start to avoid them or develop strategies to cope with them.
- Set realistic goals. Don't try to change your habit overnight. Start by setting small, achievable goals, such as cutting back on the frequency or amount of the habit.
- Find a support system. Having people who are supportive of your goals can make a big difference. Find a friend, family member, therapist, or online support group to help you stay on track.
- Be patient. Breaking a habit takes time and effort. Don't get discouraged if you slip up. Just pick yourself up and keep going.
Breaking a habit is not easy, but it is possible. By understanding the factors that affect the time it takes to break a habit and by following the tips above, you can increase your chances of success.
Here are some additional tips for breaking a habit:
- Reward yourself for your progress.
- Don't beat yourself up if you slip up. Just get back on track.
- Focus on the positive benefits of breaking the habit.
- Be patient and persistent.
If you are struggling to break a habit on your own, consider seeking professional help. A therapist can help you identify the root of the problem and develop a personalized plan to break the habit.