The Three Stages of Successful Habit Implementation
Lately I’ve been (re)thinking my goals. Replacing means goals with ends goal, and getting laser focused on what I want to achieve in life.
It’s so easy to get caught up in completing tasks, being busy for busyness sakes and not completing the stuff that really matters. By replacing sporadic ‘busyness’ with firmly engrained habits, we can start to benefit from the compounding effect of doing something every day to achieve world class success in the stuff we actually want to be good at.
Want to be a great sales person? Make sales calls every day. Want to be a great guitar player? Practice guitar every day. Want to get fit and healthy? Workout everyday.
By implementing habits that actually stick, we progress and improve each and every day, those days compounding into weeks, those weeks compounding into years, those years compounding into a lifetime of improvement and excellence.
The 66 Day Habit Implementation Protocol
New research states that it takes 66 days to implement a new habit, not 21 as we initially all believed.
As we have all experienced, the process of habit building can be extremely difficult. We are breaking down our old selves, as we simultaneously rebuild the new. Much like the process of renovating a house, whilst the end result can be satisfying, getting there is often chaos.
To successfully build a habit that sticks, three stages must first be endured.
The Three Stages of Habit Building
Stage One: Destruction (Days 1 – 22)
The first stage of habit building involves a metaphorical destruction of our former selves. It requires a constant willpower, and the suppression of the wants and desires of your current self.
During this phase the struggle is real.
Years of subconscious habit development are being torn down. Much like renovating, this destruction may require some considerable force.
During stage one, neural pathways of the brain are being recoded. We are reinventing ourselves and new ways of being day by day.
Fear is a common emotional response, we are afraid of the new and unknown. Old limitations are being challenged and discomfort must be endured.
Stage Two: Confusion (Days 23 – 44)
The next 22 days is where confusion starts to set in. You have been steadfast with your desire to build the habit, but the transition from your old self, to your new self, makes your current self feel so uncertain.
During this phase, the current self wants to go back to the old self, back to the comfort of bad food and procrastination. If the old self wins, the current self will give in in an instant. We can’t let this happen, willpower needs to be at its strongest.
Stage two is chaos, and feels as such.
The discomfort is a necessary transition from your old self to your new self. Stay focused and possess grit, as the final stage is where it all starts to get easier.
Stage Three: Integration (Days (44 – 66)
At 44 days, the habit you have been developing over the proceeding days and weeks starts to reach escape velocity.
New rhythms and systems are being installed. New neural pathways that have been forming are finally starting to connect – firing together, and wiring together – and the habit is becoming automatic.
It is becoming the new normal.
After 66 days, the old you that you were trying to change is no longer, and the new you is in its place.
Everyone has the ability to successfully implement habits in their own lives, unfortunately we just don’t stick with them long enough to take effect.
Twenty one days to build a habit is a myth, after twenty one day we can very easily find ourselves back at day one, after a momentary lapse in willpower.
The most productive and successful people focus on building strong habits. By building a strong foundation of daily actions repeated over and over again, these soon compound into great achievements.
After 66 days of intense focus and will power, the rest becomes automatic. After 66 days, the willpower earned can help you build your next habit.
After that, simply rinse and repeat. Continue stacking habits and build an epic life.