How Long Does It Take to Establish A Healthy Habit?

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Good habits can improve long-term health. However, it can be challenging to stick to new habits in the short-term. Plenty of New Year’s resolutions fizzle out by February.

Fortunately, a good amount of research has been done on habit formation. It appears to take around 10 weeks (on average) for a new, healthy habit to become automatic. There is some variation due to how complex the habit is and when it is performed.

A simple template has been developed to help establish new habits:

Make a new healthy habit

  1. Decide on a goal that you would like to achieve for your health.
  2. Choose a simple action that will get you towards your goal which you can do on a daily basis.
  3. Plan when and where you will do your chosen action. Be consistent: choose a time and place that you encounter every day of the week.
  4. Every time you encounter that time and place, do the action.
  5. It will get easier with time, and within 10 weeks you should find you are doing it automatically without even having to think about it.
  6. Congratulations, you’ve made a healthy habit!

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