Are you already frustrated with your New Year’s resolutions? Do you find you're having less success than you hoped for? Or are you setting yourself up for failure? Chances are, it is not your fault.
We need to focus on the month that changes the most, for change in our lives. I am referring to March, known for its tendency to come roaring in like a lion.
Researchers told NBC news that it takes longer than you think to form a good habit. “There isn’t a magic number — and even if there were, it would be more like 66 days, according to one recent study, which means getting out of bed early to go for a run isn't going to come easy until March at the earliest.”
A 2010 study out of the United Kingdom found that it took nearly 70 days for a new healthy habit to feel like second nature. They did things like, “eat a piece of fruit with lunch, or drink a glass of water after breakfast.”
The study was led by University College London research psychologist Pippa Lally. “This involved testing a weight loss intervention based on habit-theory and also examined the process of habit development for diet and activity behaviors.”
The American Psychological Association advises that you focus on changing one behavior before working on another.
“Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.”
So that's how you can help yourself to establish a good behavior. How about breaking a bad one?
Experts told NBCNews.com that we should figure out what is cuing the bad behavior. “Maybe you eat ice cream on the couch every night, and you'd really like to stop. Rather than trying to quit cold turkey, try to figure out what's triggering the ice cream.” Or chocolate. Or chips. Or wine, or ...
Maybe you need to replace sitting on the couch with something else like riding an exercise bike or walking on a treadmill while you catch your favorite shows.