According to Positive Psychology News, new habits can be learned and bad habits can be unlearned. The way a new habit is learned is through frequent repetitive behavior until it becomes automated. There is a part of the brain known as the “basal ganglia” which controls movement, emotion, cognition and reward-based learning. These are the exact functions responsible for habit formation.
For example, when you feel a sense of accomplishment, this is identified in the basal ganglia. Once the accomplishment is identified, the brain recognizes the association between the accomplishment and the feeling of positive reinforcement. Over time, the frequent repetition of the habitual behavior becomes increasingly stronger as time progresses.
How Long Does It Take To Automate A Positive Habit?
Habit formation researchers, Lally and colleagues from the University College London have discovered that the period of time it takes to automate a positive habit is dependent on the difficulty of the habitual behavior being learned and the level of commitment from the person. For example, forming a habit to run 5 miles every day will take a lot longer than trying to form the habit of eating an additional piece of fruit every day. Furthermore, the researchers learned that the average amount of time it takes to hit the plateau of forming a habit is 66 days. They found that at 66 days, the behaviors were as automatic as any habit could ever become. The researchers also discovered that skipping a day during the early onset would delay the time period at which it would otherwise take to automate the habitual behavior.
With enough commitment, discipline and willpower to frequent a repetitive behavior for an average of 66 days, you could drastically change your entire life for the better. No diet, weight loss pill or energy shot can compare to the power of an automated habitual behavior that creates positive lifestyle change. When you develop positive habits, it is only then that you can develop your mind, body, health and life to a level beyond your wildest imagination. Make a habit out of making positive habits.