Day 21 – It Takes 3 Weeks to Implement a New Habit

a calendar

Congratulations, you are in the final day of the third week of your new life! Now we have a question for you: can you guess what’s the single most important thing you’ve done in the past three weeks?

Yes, you’ve changed the way you eat and what you eat – but that’s not it.

Aha, the exercises, more physical activity, yes – but that’s not it either.

The answer is: you implemented new powerful habits which help you to live healthier, to be more productive and, as we learned yesterday – they help you to love yourself.

This may seem like not much to you, but get this: there is a common belief – and we tend to agree, because it worked for us as well – that we need at least 21 day until we acquire a new habit.

That means that we need to stick to a regular activity for three weeks before we can call it a habit. So congratulations again – you have acquired a habit of looking at some of the most important things in your life in a different way!
 

21 Day to Form a Habit? Am I Done?

pressing a 'healthy habits' button on the keyboard

Well, not quite.

Why haven’t we mentioned this 21 day thing until today, and why this course is taking 30 days, instead of only 21?

If we told you three weeks ago: “We have fantastic news for you: you need to endure healthy food and exercising for only 21 days, and you’ll acquire habits that will last for life!” – how do you think you would then approach the course?

Many of you would have thought: “Oh, great, I just have to get to 21st day, and that’s it!” And you’d be counting days until the end, not focusing on the attitude and mindset changes.
This small matter of perception would significantly diminish your chances for success after the course is done.

Instead, we were working on changing the way you think about nutrition, physical activity and an active and healthier way of life; we were working on pushing you towards creating a relationship, a bond with food and exercises, on making you become aware of your body, and of your thoughts.

Which is why the course doesn’t end today 🙂 Three weeks have gone by without you waiting for the 21st day, and we have a few more days to turn what are now solid habits into your life attitude.

So this is in fact a special day for all of us, and now we can take a look at what you have achieved in these three weeks.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, you are now doing two important things that you weren’t doing in the past (or the things that you weren’t doing enough) – and more importantly, you’re doing them regularly and as if you’ve been doing them forever:

1. Exercising every day.

Some of you walk every day for 30 minutes, some swim or run three days a week, some have become regular visitors of a local gym… but some sort of regular physical activity has become a normal part of your everyday life.

2. You eat healthier food.

When you started this course your eating habits were pretty different, but it’s a safe assumption that you were eating junk and unhealthy food in quantities, you had no idea about the fantastic empire of tastes that can be found in vegetables, and the delight of preparing healthy dishes was beyond your imagination. Look at you now; you are living a totally different life!

Now you control your eating habits, you threw out bad fat food and brought many new foods to the table. It’s a quite an achievement, and we can honestly say that we’re so proud of you!
 

What Now?

It’s a good question. What we know you won’t be doing anymore – not now, when you’re a completely new person – is that you won’t be making the mistake of resting on laurels. If we did a good job so far, you won’t be feeling the need to “rest“ at all; but also, you should know that the next couple weeks are crucial for maintaining the new habits you have implemented.

How will you maintain the new habits? Simple enough – only repeat what you’re already doing on a daily basis, and that’s all there is to it!

It should be easier than before because you already have a solid base, but if you feel stuck, feel free to go back to one of the previous days. We even encourage you to do so: it’s never a bad idea to refresh your knowledge, and perhaps you’ll discover a new meaning to some of the tips and tricks that you read before.

If you didn’t follow the plan strictly – don’t worry, you are certainly in a better position than someone who didn’t change anything at all, and you can always go back if you feel that you have missed something.

Many people dream of a new healthier lifestyle, but only a few are willing to do the work. You are now among them. And now the healthier way of life should not only be easier for you – you should be able to enjoy it to the fullest!
 

If You’re Not Quite There Yet, Don’t Despair!

If you found it too hard to implement the new habits at the tempo we were dictating (it was a high tempo, we admit), don’t be discouraged. There are two simple tips that can help you to gain a new habit or to maintain one:

Make it even easier.

If you struggle to do the exercises every day, then do it every two days, or even every three days. If it doesn’t help than decrease the amount of time you dedicate to exercises: for example, if you haven’t succeeded in implementing one hour of walk every day, then reduce walking time to 30 minutes. Reducing your exercise time is not a failure, when you gain a new habit you can always build on it and expand your exercise time.

Observe the negativities.

If you pay attention to the negative thoughts you’re having, you can start to understand the mechanism behind them; and if you know the mechanism, you’ll have a better chance to avoid the negativity. Let’s say you are trying to gain the habit of walking every day for 30 minutes.

In your old way of life you would question your desire to walk, you’d probably think: “Why must I walk? Can’t I skip it just this time?“ etc. But, when you know this mechanism, and when you can think clearly about it, you will need less energy to resist temptations to quit.
 

Reward Yourself

Acquiring good habits is one of the major things in the weight loss game. You are now the achiever, a successful person who effectively resists all temptations.

So, reward yourself! Don’t choose any food to reward yourself – instead go out, hang up with friends and share your story. You’ve almost done everything that needed to be done. You are entering a new period of your life.

You already know that it’s not (only) about eating less and exercising more; it’s about loving your new lifestyle. And you love it for sure because you have reached this point of the course. 🙂
Congratulate yourself again and prepare to enter the final stage of your healthy life journey! And this will be the stage you’ll enjoy the most