The people who start and manage to keep working out took a hint from Greek philosopher Aristoteles.
Will Your Next Year Be Different?
2015 is right around the corner, which means in about two weeks gyms will be swimming in people who vowed that it will be the year they get regular workouts going.
By the end of February the hallowed halls of sweat will be a lot more quiet again, just like every year.
Too bad, because the hopefuls give up a tad shy of the crucial point where they’d have gone on and on!
Where The Number Comes From
But how did I come up with the number? It’s from a nifty piece of research done at London’s University College.
The school’s social psychologists asked 96 people to choose an everyday behavior that they wanted to turn into a habit. What they chose was up to them, as long as it could be done every day and wasn’t something they already did.
Many things these people picked had to do with health and fitness: running for a quarter-hour after dinner or having a fruit with lunch.
Each and every day they then logged into a website, recorded whether they had done their task and how “automated” it had felt. The more automated, the more a habit emerges.
On average, it took 66 days to form a habit. Of course, easier tasks (drinking a glass of water after breakfast) took less time, but difficult things like regular fitness much longer. One guy still hadn’t made that a habit after 84 days!
“We Are What We Repeatedly Do”
Habits are awesome. Some sneak up on us and they’re very hard to change. Consciously forming a habit is just as hard. But trust me, you can do it. I was a really bad couch potato before I got into all this.
Make it through the habit-forming phase and the day will come when you feel strange not working out on a workout day. Then you know that exercising has become part of you. Just as Greek philosopher Aristoteles said: we are what we repeatedly do.