Do we really need 21 days to create a new habit?

We all like to make changes in our daily habits from time to time. Maybe we would like to exercise more or spend less time on social networks; But the question is, how much time does it take to create a new habit?

The most common answer given to this question is 21 days; A number that can be attributed to Dr. Maxwell Maltz, plastic surgeon and author of the book “Psychocybernetic” Attributed. Dr. Maltz says in his book that his patients need at least 21 days to change their mental images of their appearance.

Since then, many people have applied the 21-day time frame to their habits; However, not all behaviors are the same, and some of them need more than three weeks to become a regular habit. Mark Warmier, psychotherapist and founder of Brighton & Hove Psychotherapy Center in England, to Live Science says:

It is easy to understand why this figure is attractive; Because it’s both tangible and makes creating a new habit seem very attainable. However, the truth is that [شکل‌گیری عادت جدید] It’s more complicated than that and takes longer on average.

Now the question is whether it is possible to define a precise time frame for the formation of a new habit? To answer this question, we need to take a look at the science of habit formation.

What is a habit?

According to an article published in 2019 in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia, a habit is actually a behavior that has become automatic. Habits can be consciously or unconsciously formed and removed; We may even be unaware of some of these behaviors. As Maurice Duffy, mind coach and professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Sunderland, England, tells Live Science, habits play a fundamental and very important role in determining our behavior.

“Habits are small decisions you make and actions you take every day,” Duffy adds. Your life today is the sum of these habits. But you should also know that habits are not always conscious decisions and are different from daily routines. Maurice Duffy says in this regard:

A habit is a behavior that is done with little or no thought; But the daily schedule consists of behaviors that are repeated continuously and intentionally. Unlike habits, routines are uncomfortable and changing them requires a concerted effort. Habits, on the other hand, are so ingrained in our lives that not doing them feels strange.

It should also be kept in mind that not all our habits are useful or practical and some of them may even be harmful; Because the formation of a new habit does not happen in the prefrontal cortex, which is related to logical thinking.

According to a 2006 article published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, the ability to form and maintain habits may be rooted in the basal ganglia of the brain. The basal ganglia are a collection of neurons or nerve cells that are located deep in the brain and under the white matter. These neurons play an essential role in our emotional development, pattern recognition, problem solving and learning.

The role and nature of neurons can explain why some of our behaviors occur without a decision-making process and why some of them may be associated with different emotional states such as stress or sadness.

How long does it take to form a habit?

Repetition plays a very important role in habit formation. Alyssa Roberts, an eating disorder researcher at the University of Minnesota, believes that habits are formed through a process called “habituation.” According to Roberts, habituation occurs when a behavior is repeated enough and the brain adapts to the new routine by automating the response.

The concept of the “Habit Loop,” introduced by journalist Charles Duhigg in his book “The Power of Habit,” is often used to describe the science of habit formation. According to this theory, habit formation has three stages: signal or stimulus, routine or behavior and reward; For example, a stressful situation is a cue that people with bulimia nervosa may respond to. This binge eating is actually a routine that seeks the reward of temporary relief.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker