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  • Oishee Banerjee

Myth of the 21 Days

JonathanLee made a new year’s resolution stating he would make his bed every morning before he left for school. What’s more,he made this resolution to the fact that it takes 21 days to form ahabit.So every morning started withLeegettingupand making his bed and honestly hated each second of it.Still believing the 21 day proposition, he continued.


On the 22nd day he screamt- “Mom, please make my bed. I Give Up!”

So, does this prove that Lee's hardwork and dedication didn't pay off in the end ?

Honestly, no. Most people believe that habits are formed by completing a task or engaging themselves in an activity for 21 days in a row. 21 days of completing a task and voila, habit is formed.


But here lies the problem of interpretation: The 21 day myth for forming habit ideally originated in Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s 1960 book, Psycho-Cybernetics. In Observing Patients who had plastic surgery, he noted – “It took around a minimum of 21 days for an old image to dissolve and a new one to appear.”

Did you catch that ? A minimum.


So, technically Maltznever claimed that it took 21 days to change a habit or create one. Plus, he wasn’t conducting a rigorous study about the same; he was just making an observation. Despite that, snappy phrases like “21 DAYS TO FORM A NEW HABIT” spread like fire around the world. Besides , what caught the real attention was the challenge for the time limit that seemed short but was long enough to be believed by the common man. That's how this term- 21 days for habit- came to use in seminars and classes and people started believing it.

Yet the main question still remains- “How long does it take to form a habit ?”


Research straight away discredits the “21-day rule”, a study found out that it

actually takes about 18 to 254 days-an average of 66 days — more than two months

–to form a habit.


Habits can be defined as the “actions triggered automatically in response to circumstantial cues that have been related with their execution.” For illustration, when you get into your automobile, you automatically put on the seat belt. You don’t suppose about doing it or why you do it.


The time it takes to form a habit can vary greatly from person to person, and it depends on the complexity of the habit as well. Some Habits may be easier to form than others, and some entities may find it easier to embrace new behaviors. It's important to flashback that there's no one- size- fits- all figure or common timeline for habit arrangement. An unequaled timeline that matters is the one that works stylish for oneself. It's about changing what works for oneself face-to-face and being harmonious in rehearsing the asked actions until it becomes automatic.


So, don't worry too much about the precise number of days it takes to form a habit. Focus on erecting a routine that suits your life and preferences, and give yourself the time and tolerance demanded to establish the new manner as a part of your daily life.

Remember, the passage of habit conformation is unique to each individuality, and what matters most is changing the timeline and approach that supports your individualized growth and well- being.


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