21 Days

By: Ken Onu

According to research, a habit takes a mere 21 days to develop. So anytime you want to start a new habit, just convince yourself that you are only going to try it for 21 days.

For example, if you want to start jogging every morning, tell yourself it’s just for 21 days. At the end of that period, you have a choice of continuing or quitting. At least, that’s what you think.

The truth is that there is no choice. Your neural pathways have already been formed and you will, in all likelihood, continue your new habit. Furthermore, you would have noticed the benefits of what you have been doing for the past 21 days. Therefore, deep down, your subconscious would want you to continue.

You might think the reverse is also true – breaking a habit. Unfortunately, neural pathways to any habit are usually formed for life. So even if you quit (say, smoking) temporarily, any little thing can act as a trigger and make you start again.

However, the way you go about quitting just needs a small tweak to ensure it works. Do the same thing you did while starting a habit – tell yourself that it’s just for 21 days. Then you will find it much easier to continue for life.

But if you start off by telling yourself you are going to quit smoking permanently, your conscious mind will be at war with you. And in the war for supremacy, your conscious mind will win.

It may sound strange to keep saying that you should convince yourself in this way and not in that way, and so on. But in reality, having a conversation with yourself is not that strange or abnormal.

We all do it everyday. Think about it: “should I go to the gym today, or should I not?” Sound familiar? That’s you talking to yourself.

Normally, when you want to begin a new routine (or habit) or quit an old one, you would tell yourself that you are giving it up permanently. That’s when your fickle mind starts highlighting all the good things about that habit.

Continuing with the example of smoking, your mind would cause you to remember all the situations in which you enjoy smoking: early in the morning while reading the newspaper, while having a drink with friends, when you’re facing some pressure at work, and so on. Your mind does not yet know the benefits of not smoking, so it can only highlight the pleasures that smoking supposedly brings you. This is why it is important to trick yourself into believing that you’re only stopping for 21 days.
Here’s a list of habits I’d like to start for 21 days.
- Stop worrying for 21 days
- Meditate for 21 days
- Write new articles daily for 21 days
- Get up by 5am for 21 days
- Drink a vegetable juice for 21 days
Feel free to share your list of 21-day habits.

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Dr Ken Onu is the CEO and founder of Attract Freedom. A Global Community with the sole purpose of empowering people to personal and financial freedom. He is an Eye Doctor with a Vision to eradicate possibility blindness. He is a keen speaker, communicator, entrepreneur and an aspiring author. For Free Videos, Pdf's, audios, insights, ideas and free personal development courses and sessions => www.attractfreedom.com”>.

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