Faux French
ridiculous rhymes
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Let’s build bridges
to civil rights
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Letter from
a drama queen
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Weighing In on New Years Resolutions

Now that the new year is under way, you might be putting your resolutions to the test. This weekend, I noticed that a nearby grocery store had expanded its produce department, even though we are having seasonal temperatures around 0o F, and none of these foods could grow nearby now. I imagine that they are feeding people’s new habits.

Expanded produce department

But how long do new habits take to form?

I grew up during the era when everyone “knew” that it took 21 days to establish a new habit. Imagine my surprise during dinner last night when my daughter told us that she is on the 17 Day Diet, and my son protested that new habits take 30 days to form. So, I did what I love to do: I looked for reasons behind our various expectations.

I found that I grew up after a doctor published that his patients took 21 days to begin to adjust to their cosmetic surgery. Paperback best sellers retold his story by stating that it takes 21 days to change a habit.

A few years ago, the European Journal of Social Psychology published an article that states that it takes 18 to 254 days to form a new habit. Media is reporting that the researchers found that habits take 66 days to establish, so a new myth is born.

You might want to join Matt Cutts as he challenges you to try something for 30 days instead.

If you’re looking for support while you’re turning over your new leaf, or know someone who is taking on an awesome challenge, let us know in the Comments section so we can cheer along and be inspired.

9 responses to “Weighing In on New Years Resolutions”

  1. I’m continually turning over new leaves! Your post prompted me to revist my final assignment on the Learning How To Learn MOOC from last year. There I wrote about Charles Duhigg’s book about habits. He says it takes 3 -4 weeks before you no longer need to bribe yourself while overwriting a bad habit with a new one.

    Interesting post, Grace. Habit forming obviously works differently for everyone and no-one can really pin it down a real time. Perhaps the cue, routine and reward method might be the easiest way.

    Matt Cutts almost talked me into taking on something new!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As you point out, Christine, we need cues to remember our resolutions, even just a few hours or weeks after we make them! Do post a link to your assignment.

      I usually have a hard time following routine, always seeing potentially better ways of doing things. Lately, I’m re-committed to routine, as it makes important tasks easier to remember to do, and seems to take less energy away from the rest of the day.

      Let us know if Matt persuades you to do something new so we can add to the heap of rewards.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. https://christineslearning.wordpress.com/learning-how-to-learn-my-mooc-experience/

        Actually it was good to revisit that blog post and refresh the hope generated by that MOOC. 😀

        I’ve done another MOOC learning about a time management system which is working for me so far … after a fashion, anyhow. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. 😦 Not readable on my phone. I’ll try again later

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Is there a habit yOu’ve wanted to make new? =) Helpful stats. (At least where they don’t step on each other. :P)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diana! 🙂

      One of my newest habits was to write part of my River Novel every week so I would have an excerpt to share every Saturday for #SaturdayScenes on google, which I link to on my blog.

      I’m finding that when I simply put something on my smartphone calendar, and set reminder alarms, then I have what I need to make something happen.

      Do any of the numbers mean something to you? I recently used something like the 30-day strategy to cut sugar out of my diet. First it was one meal now and then. Then it was one day, then one week, one month… I did one month over a year ago, and it’s sticking 🙂


      1. Hey, that’s inspirational, G, how you tackled the sugar. I’ve been sugar-free for ages (have a food blog for all things sans sugar, wheat, dairy, yeast). I LOVE how you broke it down (your goals) to be able to manage them…and succeeded. As to the smartphone, it’s interesting how simple a strategy can really be – we just need to tap into the one that works for us, that our bodily and mental inclinations will like. Like I sO want to do my yoga to do the DVD but am sO impatient I can’t take the minutes I lose wrangling w/ the remote I can’t figure out. Finally had hubby or little man slip in the disc and get past the main menu for me, and I can jump right in. (Can you tell I’m from NYC?? LOL). The numbers didn’t have particular meaning for me but I’d like to revisit them. It’s all about hope. That we see certain goals really are attainable.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Diana, I didn’t know that you had a food blog. Please post the URL here. I am mostly eating fresh organic vegetables and meat, with occasional nuts and fruit, and rarely grains and dairy. Some people call it “Paleo”. I call it, eating what makes me feel the best. Last month, I discovered that stirring in eggs, or ground up dried mushrooms are great at thickening soup broth! Previously, I had relied on pureeing ingredients for that creamy texture.

          I wish you well with your yoga. A few weeks ago, I went to a Bikram yoga studio, with the intention of breaking my lapse in doing yoga. I was hypnotized by the instructor’s rapid-fire directions: reach higher, stretch farther, turn more, lock your knee, you’re doing great… I lost all sense of how I was feeling, as comprehending her words required my full focus, until I collapsed, and nausea and shakes overwhelmed me. She told me to recover by lying flat on my back for less than one minute; then she prodded me to continue. I regret that I did. At the end, I was afraid to leave because I felt too sick to move, but scrounged up all the effort that I could muster to get myself to fresh air. I felt sick for a week.

          I am aiming for a more restful, restorative yoga studio next. Maybe I’ll get there tomorrow or next week… I have Scott Cole and NYC Ballet videos that I love to use, but the spaces that used to have open floor in our house have been covered with furniture. Maybe I can use outside with my laptop when the weather warms…

          You make sense to me when you say that the numbers are secondary; the main thing is to see hope, which is fed by noticing progress.

          I’m always wishing you well…


          1. “eating what makes me feel the best.”
            Absolutely, Grace. Good for you. You do realize that your self-awareness and instinct tie into the yoga, right? That you now wish you had listened to your self and not that particular instructor. With Yoga as in so very many things in life (and the healing arts) our progress depends on the skillfulness of the instructor as well our compatibility with his, her energy.

            You are sweet to ask for the link.

            The pages (on top) might interest you.

            I obviously haven’t been able to build it. Just there as reference. Was in fact the seed for a book. Until A Holistic Journey (and the readers) won me over. =)



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