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Keeping up with New Year’s resolutions

Estherville News Editorial

January 27, 2016
Estherville News

January is almost to an end and this is the time where many people lose their way when achieving their New Year's resolutions.

In an article from, the myth, yes myth, of "it takes 21 days to form a habit," came from a plastic surgeon in the 1950s who observed that it took about 21 days for a patient to adjust to seeing their new face or not having a leg or arm after amputation. However, his conclusion was solely based on observation, not science.

A health psychology researcher at University College of London by the name of Phillippa Lally and her team did a study to find out how long it actually takes to form a habit. The study analyzed the habits of 96 people over a 12-week period. What the research found was that "on average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic 66 days to be exact." However, this can vary depending on the behavior, the person and the circumstances.

The researchers did find, however, that missing the opportunity to perform the behavior did not affect the habit formation process.

While, this can be discouraging information to some, it should be looked at with a silver lining. If you are trying to form a habit in a few weeks, don't get down if it's not happening because it is suppose to take longer. Also, you don't have to be perfect, in that, it is okay to make a mistake, whether you missed going to the gym one day or you ate that greasy cheeseburger. Shake it off and get back on the bus!

Lastly, it's important to realize that habits are a process, not an event. Learn to embrace the new habit rather than trying to count down the days until the behavior is a habit.

By keeping realistic expectations and committing yourself to small improvements, forming the new habit will become less of chore.

Well-known fitness coach Autumn Calabrese said, "If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up."

This can translate into anything in life, not just fitness. All great things take time and effort.

If those New Year's resolutions have slowly started to fade, then this is the time to get motivated again and push yourself harder in order to keep striving for those goals.



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