While there are various programs to help form a good habit or replace an old (bad) one. Most of them have in common some basic steps.
- Form a plan
- Identify triggers
- Design things to encourage the new habit
- Reduce the things that will sabotage or get in the way of the new habit
- Set a time period for practicing the new habit (see "Time" below)
- Work on one habit at a time
- Start small and start again
There are many Web sites that say research has shown that it takes "21 days to form a habit". This comes from some research done by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. In fact, further research shows the time it takes is far more variable. Research by Lally et al shows a range from 18 to 254 days with an average of 66 days.
Remember, just as a new habit can be formed, it can be broken. So, even if it only took 10 days to form a new habit, it would probably take even less time to break it while it's still fresh.
- ZenHabits on The Habit Change Cheatsheet: 29 Ways to Successfully Ingrain a Behavior
- lifehacker on What it Takes to Form a Good Habit
- PsyBlog on How Long to Form a Habit?
- How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world, abstract of research by Lally et al, reported in the peer reviewed journal, European Journal of Social Psychology
- The Telegraph on It takes 66 days to form a habit re Lally research with short Q&A with author
- Luc Reid, Writing and the Psychology of Habits, on How Long Does It Take to Form a Habit?
- Lifehacker on how to Build Better Habits with a Mind Map which links to the more complete article at AsianEfficiency How to Build New Habits with Mind Maps by Thanh Pham