Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 56 - I'm back! And does it really take 21 days to change a habit???

I am finally feeling fairly good.  So I'm hoping I'm back to normal. *knock knock*  Unfortunately, it wasn't a flu type of sick so the scale wasn't great.  BUT -- I did lose 1.4 pounds.  Not too bad considering I couldn't exercise and my eating wasn't on point.

Can we talk about something??  You know how people say that it takes 21 days to form a habit? Is that really true?  I came across an article about this titled How Long to Form a Habit? (Appropriately titled don't you think?)  I haven't fact checked the article, but did you know that the 21 days comes from a surgeon that noticed that it took amputees 21 days to get used to having lost a limb.  (I don't know to what extent.  I mean, who gets 100% over losing a limb??)

They tested different habits and noticed that there was variation.  It could take between 18 and 254 days to form a habit.  Because lets face it, forming a habit to drink water will take much less time than to form a habit to run 10 miles a day. (I think the 10 miles a day would take me approximately 2656 days. Just sayin'.) 

My other question is:  What happens if you have an off day? Or .. ummmm... several off days.  Like I might have had the last few days?  Okay...  last week or two?  Does that mean that my good habits are broken now?  I'm hoping not, but I have a history of sliding back to bad habits once my good habits are broken. 

Case in point: When I was slightly younger... several years younger..... OKAY!  Lots and lots younger, I was a gymnast.  I wanted to get better so my trainers have me several exercises to do every day.  Nothing really big.  Push-ups, sit-ups, etc.  And I did them religiously.  I even kept a journal of my exercises.  And then, one day, I thought, "You know, I've been doing these for a while.  And I'm tired tonight.  One night off isn't going to kill me."  And thus ended my nightly exercises.

One point that eases my mind somewhat, according to the above article?  I'm in the clear.  One missed day won't cause you to fall off the wagon.  WOO HOO!  So I guess the lesson is, KEEP ON TRUCKIN'!!

P.S.  Contrary to my overactive imagination may tell you, I never looked like that picture when I was a gymnast.

(Image 1 from
(Image 2 from 


Aylilth said...

Good job on the loss...even if it was due to being sick.

About sticking with it forming the habit, I think it is mental more then anything. You have to want it and sounds like you do.

ARJules said...

Aylilth - Hey there! Thanks. I think the loss was in spite of being not because I was sick. So I was okay with it. :)

I agree - I do think it is a mental thing. And I do want it... except when I don't. Ha ha ha. Just kidding. But sometimes it is definitely hard!

Deb said...

I think everyone has an off day or week or two but it doesn't just come back. You have to consciously pick it back up. Especially something that is 1)time-consuming 2)unpleasant in any way 3)tedious 4)doesn't give you immediate gratification. It's that conscious decision to rest on our laurels instead of running, lifting, walking that gets us in trouble.

ARJules said...

Hmmm... Time consuming: CHECK. Unpleasant in any way: CHECK. Tedious: CHECK. Doesn't give immediate gratification: CHECK. CHECK. Crap. I'm screwed. Ha ha ha ha

Merri said...

I don't know how long it takes but going to the gym definitely became a habit. I used to think people who worked out were crazy. But now if I skip a gym time I feel bleh. And it doesn't make me quit when I don't go.

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