How long does it take to start a new habit? If you have ever tried or done your homework, you know it typically takes about two to four weeks.
Learning or starting a new habit is a complicated process, similar to a group of people in a company working together to produce a product. The first time you learn something, every ‘department’ is working with the task for the first time, determining what is needed and streamlining action items and timing to complete it more efficiently the next time.
Similarly, a deadline may require many departments to be working in concert and then producing an action at exactly the right time. The next time the group or company is presented with this task, it will be more efficient – the leader will know what to expect and be able to direct workers efficiently, and workers will be able to work together to quickly produce the result.
Your body works the same way, becoming more and more efficient with practice. Repeating the task or action on a daily basis will increase efficiency even more.
The good news is that this means you can pick any time that works for you throughout the year to start making healthy changes. There are health benefit to losing even a few pounds and adding even one day per week of exercise!
You can identify an outcome goal, such as ‘lose 5 pounds’, or you can focus on the behavior that you need to accomplish that goal. Either way works, but to be successful, your focus must be on the behavior you can control each day. You will gain confidence each time you finish that workout, do your yoga, or take the time to cook your next healthy meal.
So good luck starting your new habits. Every day is the first day of your New Year!