Busting the 21 Days to Create a Habit Myth

We've all heard in the past that it takes 21 days to bust a habit. It turns out that is a fable of the Internet that just kept getting repeated.

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Put in $20, and if you lose 4% of your weight when it starts (October 31, 2018) you get to share the pot with everyone who achieved their 4% goal (it's not as easy at sounds).

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It Only Takes 21 Days to Create a Habit???

If you've ever heard that it only takes 21 days to develop a habit, it turns out that has been exaggerated, and misinterpreted by the Internet over the years (and if you repeat something over and lover long enough, people think it's true

Now, however, there is some psychological research on this question in a paper recently published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. Phillippa Lally and colleagues from University College London recruited 96 people who were interested in forming a new habit such as eating a piece of fruit with lunch or doing a 15 minute run each day Lally et al. (2009). Participants were then asked daily how automatic their chosen behaviors felt. These questions included things like whether the behavior was ‘hard not to do’ and could be done ‘without thinking’.

Although the average was 66 days, there was marked variation in how long habits took to form, anywhere from 18 days up to 254 days in the habits examined in this study. As you’d imagine, drinking a daily glass of water became automatic very quickly but doing 50 sit-ups before breakfast required more dedication (above, dotted lines).

Missing a single day did not reduce the chance of forming a habit.
A sub-group took much longer than the others to form their habits, perhaps suggesting some people are ‘habit-resistant’.
Other types of habits may well take much longer.
No small change

What this study reveals is that when we want to develop a relatively simple habit like eating a piece of fruit each day or taking a 10-minute walk, it could take us over two months of daily repetitions before the behavior becomes a habit. And, while this research suggests that skipping single days isn’t detrimental in the long-term, it’s those early repetitions that give us the greatest boost in automaticity.

Mentioned in the Show

The Ulla Hydration Reminder tool

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How to Get and Stay Hydrated with the Ulla Hydration Reminder

Ulla Hydration

Ulla Smart Hydration Reminder

I've tried other smart bottles, and they had fun apps, etc. but I like MY bottle, and there was some setup involved, and it wasn't always accurate. I can track how much I drink in MyFitnessPal (or many other apps) but I often sit at my desk in the morning and 10:30 rolls around and I haven't taken a sip. That is where the Ulla Smart Hydration Reminder comes into play. It's a very small device that has a motion detector and knows when you're around. Then when time rolls by (typically 30-40 minutes)  it blinks to remind you to drink. The blinking pattern was developed in a way that it stimulates peripheral sight. In other words, you'll notice the alert even out of the corner of your eye.  It comes with a band that allows you to attach it to any bottle.

When it arrives, you simply pull a piece of plastic off to allow the battery to get plugged in, and grab the band and attach it to your bottle. I've been using it today and every now and then it starts blinking. I take a drink and it stops. Right now it's on sale for $19.60+ shipping. Originally it was supposed to take two weeks to get here (it is coming from overseas) but it got here in about a week.

You don't have to worry about turning it on or off. Ulla is fully automatic, there aren’t any buttons to push – it powers on and turns off automatically. Ulla senses your presence and ambient light. As a result, it goes to sleep when the lights go out or when you miss two hydration cycles.

It does not make any sound so it doesn't annoy your co-workers.

If you're looking to ramp up your water intake, this is a super easy mild reminder to keep hydrated.

Apple Cider Vinegar

A blog post on MyFitnessPal shows how this may not be as cool. For example, ACV (cause we're too lazy to say Apple Cider Vinegar) may decrease appetite. OF COURSE IT DOES (it tastes awful).

See the full post at https://blog.myfitnesspal.com/can-apple-cider-vinegar-fix-all-my-problems/

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