With the New Year looming, you're probably having a bit of a think about some new years resolutions. Whether you believe in new years solutions or not, you've got to admit that a new year is a good excuse to have a fresh start or make a change... maybe even a new habit?
But then you may be thinking, how long will it take to make a good habit, like exercising regularly, stick? As the old saying goes, it takes 21 days to form a habit. To take a bit of a deep dive into this, and really discover how habits are formed, we got the low down from this article guest edited by #1 rated fitness app Fiit.
The question around how to create new habits has raged between academics and life-hack gurus through the ages. A 2009 University College London study found it took subjects anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a habit, settling on an average of 76 days. Well there you have it - the more you know.
So, based on this, Psychologists have identified 3 clear rules for making new habits stick:
- Find a simple and obvious reason
- Have clearly defined rewards
- Transform aversion into habit
How to make healthy habits stick
Right, now we know how it works, let's give it a go.
Firstly, set yourself a specific target. Envision the long-term and consider the achievements you wish to crush. Run a marathon? Climb a mountain? Or simply have a healthy body fat percentage into your senior years?
At first, that goal may feel light years away. You then need to break it down into manageable and actionable steps. You need to think SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Thinking SMART makes this initially overwhelming goal feel achievable, first in your mind and then in your fitness. Plan to measure this every week and keep a detailed record.
After you break the ice and get started, you'll start to reap the rewards. Numerous studies show that regular exercise revitalises your body with endorphins, combatting stress and improving cognitive function simultaneously. This soon transforms into a craving and when your brain begins to switch to autopilot, habits become ingrained. "Rather than fighting this reaction, reframing this craving for the purpose of making fitness addictive means something that used to be a struggle will quickly become a habit that you won’t want to kick."
One study in particular assessed the presence of a motivational source in the persuasion of creating a healthy habit. It was found that participants habit formations were heavily influenced by their everyday routine. The conclusion? If you want to create a healthy habit, try integrating it into your day like you would a meeting or a deadline.
FIIT TUF Challenge
Fiit are on a mission to make exercise a habit for everybody and bring the gym to your living room. This April, we’ve partnered with them as they launch the 8-week TUF Challenge to #MakeItStick. They’ve deconstructed the science of habit formation so you can take on weekly challenges that build long-lasting fitness habits.
What is the FIIT TUF challenge?
Every week, challengers can take part in micro-challenges. For every challenge completed, members receive a voucher from partnering brands like us and you'll be entered into a draw to win an epic partner prize. Keep your eyes peeled for our Innermost x Fiit giveaway in week 4!
How can I get involve in the FIIT TUF challenge?
Head over to the Fiit TUF Challenge and sign up. No time like the present to beat the boredom of being at home and crush your goals. Stick to it. And make fitness your way of life. Use code INNERMOST25 for 25% off and a 14-day free trial.
Judah, G., Gardner, B., & Aunger, R. (2013). Forming a flossing habit: an exploratory study of the psychological determinants of habit formation. British journal of health psychology, 18(2), 338-353. Click here.