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The Science Behind Forming Habits: How Long Does It Really Take?

Discover the science-backed timeline of habit formation and practical tips to make those changes stick.

how long to form a habit

Hey there, fellow habit enthusiasts! Ready to crack the code on habit formation? Ever wondered just how long it takes to turn that new behavior into a well-ingrained habit? Well, you're not alone. Let's embark on this journey of discovery together!

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The Science of Habit Formation

According to research highlighted by CNN, the common belief that it takes 21 days to form a habit might need a bit of a reality check. Turns out, the timeline varies widely depending on the individual and the complexity of the habit.

"On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic -- 66 days to be exact."

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Making Habits Stick

So, how can we use this knowledge to our advantage? Here are some practical tips to help you master the art of habit formation:

  1. Start Small: Break down your habit into tiny, manageable steps. Instead of aiming to run a marathon right away, start with a short walk around the block.

  2. Stay Consistent: Repetition is key! Stick to your new habit every day, even when motivation wanes. Consistency is what ultimately solidifies the behavior.

  3. Use Triggers: Associate your new habit with a specific cue or trigger. For example, if you want to start flossing every night, place the floss next to your toothbrush as a visual reminder.

Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are habits. Be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories along the way!


So, there you have it, folks! While the myth of 21 days might sound appealing, the reality is a bit more nuanced. Habit formation is a journey, not a sprint. Armed with patience, persistence, and a sprinkle of science, you can conquer any habit you set your mind to. Here's to building a life filled with positive, lasting changes!

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