While many do not consider the importance of habit development when it comes to goal achievement, those that do unfortunately are subject to the many great myths which surround the topic. In this episode, Martin and I review and dispel four monster myths about positive habit formation.
1. It takes 21 days to develop a habit.
This originated decades ago with, Psycho Cybernetics a terrific book by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. While it does not take 21 days to develop a habit it is safe to say you can START to develop a habit in 21 days. According to a study from the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes, on average, 66 days. Research tells us though that it depends upon all sorts of criteria including; desire, skill and knowledge related to any particular habit.
2. Cue- Routine-Reward
Cue, routine, reward and the related, “habit-loop” were largely popularized by The Power of Habit. The habit loop helps to illustrate what triggers and environments have been supporting past behaviors (habits) but the habit loop fails to provide any guidance about how to actually form good habits intentionally. Cue, routine, reward may address half the battle but leaves out the significance of TRACKING and REASSESSING as well as using Target Days, Minimum Success Criteria and Tracking Periods, all which help greatly when developing good habits and constitute P.A.R.R.
3. Consecutive Days
Positive habit development is NOT an all or nothing proposition. In fact, the study referenced above supports something that The Habit Factor recommended over five years ago, that you can and should use Target Days to develop habits and that habit development depends far more upon consistency over time than consecutive days.
4. All habits will last forever once established.
People often view habits as static and unchanging. Habits often require maintenance and it’s important to constantly reevaluate your life and your goals to ensure that your habits remain aligned. As your life progresses your goals will change.. what habits will help you get there? This is why habit tracking and P.A.R.R. is so important!
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Psycho-cybernetics – Maxwell Maltz
The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg