Here’s How Long it Takes to Turn a Behavior Into a Habit

The process by which habits are formed has been a prime focus of research for quite some time now. Studies have sought to crack the code behind how frequently something must be done in order to make it habitual, since this can make it easier to replace bad habits with good ones than might have been the case otherwise. In spite of the fact that this is the case, there is a lot of variation with respect to how long it takes for a habit to become innate.

Researchers working at Caltech, the University of Chicago as well as the University of Pennsylvania tried to uncover the secrets behind habit formation. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that the time required to form the habit largely relies on what the activity in question involves.

For example, when going to the gym was analyzed, the researchers discovered that it took as long as six months for it to stop being a chore and become a habit that you don’t have to think too much about. They also found that Mondays and Tuesdays were the most popular days for people to go to the gym.

However, when healthcare workers were put under the microscope, it was revealed that it only took them a few weeks to get into the habit of regularly washing their hands. This might have something to do with the enormous task of going to the gym and working out compared to the relatively simple process of washing one’s hands.

One thing that this research did confirm was that consistency is essential because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up increasing the likelihood of a habit being created. The longer you spend between visits to the gym, the harder it will be to make it a habit. There is no one size fits all solution, and more studies will be required before any definitive conclusions can be reached with all things having been considered and taken into account.

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