How long does it actually take to form a new habit?

6
min read
September 30, 2019
Photo by:
PRMG

And that’s how society started spreading the common myth that it takes 21 days to form a new habit (or 30 days or some other magic number). It's remarkable how often these timelines are quoted as statistical facts. Dangerous lesson: enough people say something enough times, then everyone else starts to believe it.
It makes sense why the “21 Days” Myth would spread. It’s easy to understand. The time frame is short enough to be inspiring, but long enough to be believable. And who wouldn’t like the idea of changing your life in just three weeks?

How Long it Really Takes to Build a New Habit

Become a PRMG member to continue reading!

Register to get access to more unique blog posts!

Register now

Phillippa Lally is a health psychology researcher at University College London.

In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Lally and her research team decided to figure out just how long it actually takes to form a habit.

The study examined the habits of 96 people over a 12-week period. Each person chose one new habit for the 12 weeks and reported each day on whether or not they did the behavior and how automatic the behavior felt.

In 1960, Maltz published that quote and his other thoughts on behavior change in a book called Psycho-Cybernetics (audiobook). The book went on to become an blockbuster hit.

Jay Levy
Author
“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”
Share this article
Jay Levy
Author
“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”
Share this article

Want to be the first to see our blogs?

Subscribe so you don't miss a thing.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

A healthier life starts with a healthier mind

8
min read
Apr 21, 2021

When undertaking a business, generating leads is a top priority. It is imperative for any business to initiate by establishing its own brand goals and brand persona.

Read more
8
min read
Apr 1, 2021

Editing our images and only posting the most "Insta-worthy" shots has made our virtual lives so far removed from our actual lives.

Read more
4
min read
Mar 24, 2021

I only follow a select few brands on social media. Why? Because other accounts are clearly managed by someone who does not know how to write readable social media copy. I cross enough blatant advertising in my daily life––magazines, YouTube, billboards, television. I don’t also want to be pitched while scrolling through Twitter. 

Read more