How to form a habit or get started with the 21 Day Challenge?
Long time no see, guys! Sorry, for such a long hiatus(break). Caught up with some work and personal milestones, starting life’s second innings. More about the same here. 🙂
So the past few months, have been a roller coaster ride, extended lockdown, focus shifts and a lot more was going on. And after all this time, I am back with a plan to share some regular updates on various topics and ideas.
What was I up to right now?
Back in the November of 2020, India was recovering from the after-effects of the lockdown. It was a difficult time for everyone across the world and India. India had almost recovered from the first wave but still, there was a strict lockdown.
It started all the way back in the month of November when some of my colleagues back in Pune struggled to hike a small hill, which triggered an idea among the colleagues at Brainstorm Force that we should pay some attention to our health.
This gave the idea to begin the 21-day challenge/fitness journey right from the homes. Going outdoors in this Covid-19 situation was still a risk.
So we started this task with our colleagues to begin our fitness journey. This meant doing some regular workouts from home, which included completing a set number of steps, some exercises whichever we preferred.
The basic idea was simply to develop a habit to focus on physical health while being stuck at home.
And comes the inevitable question. Is there a thing such as a 21-day habit? Does it really take 21 days to form a new habit?
We all want to form good habits sooner and think it would be easy. Habits and daily challenges are very beneficial to form. They might take little to no effort and allow to achieve certain goals easily.
In fact, thanks to my writing habit, I have been able to get started with this blogging journey a couple of years back. Read more about the same here.
So you must be thinking about the inevitable question – Is the 21 day challenge a myth?
Can you form a new habit in 21 days?
If you ask me, I am inclined to say yes! The 21-day challenge or habit making takes you on a journey, that helps develop a journey.
But, I won’t sell you any unreasonable truth, I will cover both sides.
The other side: A recent study has described the 21-day habit making as a myth. A psychology researcher at University College London, mentions that it takes a little over – 2 months – 66 days to be exact, and as much as 254 days it develops into a habit.
The study was based on the behavior of close to 100 participants who were asked to pick a habit and practice it for 12 weeks/3 months.
While a few felt the behavior to be automatic over the period of time. Undoubtedly, the results varied from person to person and leading to the conclusion that it takes 3x to 12x longer than the 21 days.
This led to widespread panic across the health and fitness community. So should we continue reading further? Yes, definitely! As we read the one part of the story and there’s more to it.
Forming a New Habit in 21 Days Takes Will Power
Rightly said, developing a new habit, is not as easy as it might sound. Most people struggle with forming new habits. Usually, they lose motivation over time and you might find yourself drifting another way.
It’s totally fine and one shouldn’t be disheartened if you are unable to continue after a few days or a week. Start again, after a few days, start slow with some easy goals that will give you a much-needed boost of confidence.
For example, You can start with a simple steps goal like 3000 steps per day. That’s like an episode of Money Heist you can watch while walking. Add some stretching at the start and end of the daily step goal.
Believe me, it literally has a positive impact, as hitting such smaller goals will help you improve your confidence.
And once you start achieving smaller goals like daily steps, water intake, and ensure you’re staying away from certain addictive things.
This will give a much-needed boost and a feeling which will enable you to take further goals and courage to achieve it.
Determining the Size of Habit
It’s important to break down the habits you want to develop into smaller goals.
Effective Strategy for “21 Day Challenge” Habit Formation
Let’s say you want to get fit or start going to the gym for the same. Do not take a gym membership right away.
Firstly, ask yourself will you be able to work out daily at the gym. As it is not easy, to build courage and start hitting the gym daily.
We shall begin with simple goals and start achieving the same, once you have the necessary willpower to achieve the simple step goals, eating healthy, etc. Working out at the gym will be worth it.
It’s not about the goal, but building your mindset in the process which will help us to achieve or hit the targets. And if it would have been easier, wouldn’t everyone in the world be fit! 😉
The important thing for us is to choose an action that we could do every day without much resistance. You should always begin with something small. And once you get used to it, you could up the challenge and resolve to do it every day.
Let’s say, you promised yourself to run for 30 minutes for 21 days, start by running for 10 minutes on the 1st day. Let’s not push ourselves for more than that. And the next day you could run for 22 minutes, and the day later for 12 minutes, etc.
Within the next 21 days, we would have crossed the target for more than 30 minutes. In 1 month, we could have crossed running for an hour as a result of this 1-minute incremental increase.
Always ensure, you do not push yourself too much very early on. As we grow ourselves into this new lifestyle, look back on our progress and continue increasing the challenge.
Thumb Rule: Every time you increase the challenge or go too fast, you are most likely not achieve your goal and ultimately lose motivation. It is always, a good idea to pick a challenge that is within your limits. If you are having a tough time(in the running challenge for instance), then you can increase the time by just 30 seconds a day. These seconds and minutes will pile up quickly and you will be surprised at the end of the challenge.
Remember, we have to keep making progress… we can’t expect yourself to run a marthon on the first day itself of getting started.
I hope this quick article has been helpful and motivate in your 21-day challenge. A quick tip or trick before we conclude, it is always great to join a community of friends or family with whom you can share your progress. Also, working together on similar goals helps us to stay motivated and know what we need to ensure to stay on top.
Follow great Instagram handles, that share some daily tips and tricks. My personal best has been the “21 Day Challenge Tips” which has been sharing regular progress and shares stories on workouts that you can do at home.
All the best on your fitness or day-to-day challenge. Let me know if it has been helpful! 🙂