Imagine this. You keep going to bed late at night, which results in waking up late. So, you try to sleep earlier for 21 days straight to break the habit. But, you only commit to it for the first few days, and you never even bother giving it another go.
We often find people saying that it only takes 21 days to break a habit. So much so that we believe it to be true. You may even have applied it a lot of times in your life. However, is it really true? Spoiler alert, it's not.
The initial belief originates from a 1960 book titled Psycho Cybernetics, written by a plastic surgeon named Maxwell Maltz. In the book, he claims that it took about 21 days for patients to get used to their new faces after plastic surgery. Though it makes sense to say that the same thing goes for breaking a habit, it's more complicated than that.
According to a more recent study from University College London, it's not as cut and dry as 21 days. The research involves the examination of 96 people breaking new habits over the space of 12 weeks, and the result shows that the average time needed for a new habit to stick is 66 days.
So, if you're trying to develop a new habit, trying to commit for 2 months instead of 3 weeks doesn't do the trick. Then again, it may vary from person to person. It may take less time for some, while many people require more time. Therefore, don't be discouraged if you still find it difficult to adapt to your new habits after doing it for 2 months. After the set period has elapsed, stick to it for a little bit longer, and you'll end up with a habit you can keep without having to actively think about.