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Friday, May 9, 2014

How long does it take to form a new habit?

A habit is a new behaviour which becomes automatic or second nature (like brushing teeth before bedtime) over time.

Based on research done by Dr Phillipa Lally on 96 people, a new behaviour takes about 7 weeks to become habit.

The smaller the action chosen, the more likely it is to succeed. The new behaviour must be performed in the same way, same time, same place (ie same context) so that over time the body becomes cued to perform the habit.

Missing a day here and there does not reduce the chance of forming the new habit, and some habits may take longer than 7 weeks. In general, the larger the new habit, the longer it takes.

Generally doctors do not help their patients make change; they just tell their patient to loose weight, or get more sleep, or quit smoking. When faced with any major lifestyle change,  many people give up because a lifestyle change requires the assimilation of many new smaller habits into their new, healthier lifestyle.

If you are needing to develop healthier habits contact Birgit Schinke, health coach & educator, clinical counselor for help with developing your new lifestyle. 

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