If you’v been a reader of DRG for any amount of time, you should know that habits play a major role in living a truly successful life. Any goal you want to achieve can be achieved faster if you leverage the power of habits.

But there are some misconceptions about habits floating around that could be preventing you from really using habits to start achieving your goals and truly changing your life for the better.

And I don’t want you to miss out on the success you deserve simply because you believed some lie about what it really takes to develop new habits.

There’s a certain myth about habits that’s been floating around for some time. And chances are, you’ve heard this before. If I was standing in front of you, and I asked you, “How long does it take to create a new habit?” I’m guessing your answer would be what most people’s answer would be:

30 days… 

Now, I’m not sure where this myth got started, or why so many people believed it to be true, but I wanted to get to the bottom of whether or not that was a fact.

So I did some digging and what I found was actually quite surprising.

Here’s How Long It Really Takes to Develop a New Habit

A study performed back in 2009 looked at 92 different individuals and followed them around for 12 weeks while they tried to develop habits centered on various activities.

Here’s what they found…

It took anywhere between 18 and 254 days for any given action to become an actual “habit”

On average, it took about 66 days to form a new habit.

So there’s a few things you need to accept given this new data about habits.

(NOTE: Want to start creating better habits in your own life? You can do so with this free “Habit Building Cheat Sheet”)

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Habits Aren’t Built Over Night

You can see that it took as many as 254 days for certain habits to develop. That’s almost an entire year! So don’t get discouraged if after one week, you still find yourself struggling to make that habit stick. If you want to succeed, you must take consistent action over an extended period of time.

Just like everything else in life, success in building habits isn’t automatic. You have to persevere. You have to tough it out. You’ve gotta keep going.

Some Habits Take Longer to Develop (But You MUST Stick With It)

So yes, some habits took 254 days, but others only took 18 days? Why the hell is there such a big difference?

Well, it depends on a few things.

First, is the complexity of the habit you’re trying to develop. An exercise habit is going to take a lot longer to develop than drinking more water. So if you find yourself trying to develop a habit that is a large departure from your existing behavior, then you should expect a longer time horizon to actually make that habit stick.

Second is that, it depends a lot on you! And that’s the honest truth. If you have the desire to push through when things get hard and you feel like giving up, then you’ll probably develop your habits faster. But, if you have harder time being consistent and staying motivated, then it might take you a little longer.

And it’s not a bad thing if you struggle with motivation (although reading this might help) because we’ve all struggled with it from time to time. But just know that it’ll take you a little longer.

Does Missing Days Stop Your Habit Formation?

You might feel some pressure to make sure that you never, ever, never ever ever miss a day when you’re trying to build a habit. And while of course, consistency is super important when it comes to creating a new habit, missing a day actually isn’t all that big of a deal.

You see, this same study revealed that missing a few days here and there doesn’t have a significant impact on your ability to create new habits. So when you do miss a day, don’t feel discouraged. Just dust yourself, get focused, and try again.

What’s the #1 Habit You Would Build?

Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment below and let me know what’s the number habit you wish you could build?

(NOTE: Want to start creating better habits in your own life? You can do so with this free “Habit Building Cheat Sheet”)

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