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Updated: Apr 28, 2021

**The dictionary describes a habit as a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.**

The word in that description that stands out for me is ‘practice.’

My mother always told me that practice makes perfect. While I don’t believe that it will make you perfect, I do believe that it will make you better.

Lemony Snickett said, “If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting our whole lives.”

Did you know that it takes from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit or break an old one?

On average, it takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. (taken from

I was conditioned to believe that it took 21 days to change a habit or take on a new one. This is a myth that began back in 1960 with Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon. Maxwell Martz wrote a book called Psycho-cybernetics where he wrote that he noticed that many of his patients took 21 days to get used to their new faces after surgery.

However, this newer information was recently brought to my attention by James Gardiner, the Conscious Warrior, so I did a little research of my own.

Researchers from University College London in 2009, found that developing new habits in 96 test subjects took much longer. On average it took 12 weeks to break an old habit or acquire a new one. In order to break an old habit, you must form a new one to replace the old one. For example, in order to stop smoking, chewing nicotine gum or using inhalers is more effective that just using nicotine patches.

I found in my research the main consensus is that the reason it can be so difficult to break an old habit is because most of us aren’t willing to do the work required to break that habit. You see that habit has become part of your comfort zone. The 96 test subjects all had different lengths of time that it took to break an old habit and acquire a new on. One formed a new habit after 18 days. Most took much longer and up to 254 days.

We are all creatures of habit. Your habits determine the quality of your life and your future as well. Remember this; bad habits will only lead you to negative consequences where good habits will give you positive rewards. You can change your negative habits into positive ones if you desire them enough and are prepared to do the work to change them.

Here is the kicker though. If you desire change, positive changes in your life, those old habits will keep holding you back from the changes that you need until you replace them with new positive ones.

When you want to break an old habit, you must align yourself with your own personal values to change your behavior. External forces or pressure from others will not do it for you.

“Nothing changes if nothing changes.” Unknown

Transformation will only come when you are ready to replace those old bad habits with new and positive ones that will aid you in your journey to change.

When I was a very young girl, I used to bite my fingernails. I sometimes bit them so much that they would bleed. My mother tried everything to make me stop. From putting hot mustard on them to smacking my hands when she found them in my mouth. She even tried to soak tobacco in water and put that solution on them as well. She also tried bribing me with pretty fingernail polish if I would stop, and money at the end of each week if my nails grew even a little bit.

Nothing worked.

Finally, I decided that I wanted pretty fingernails and I quit on my own. I did have several relapses, but eventually I did quit biting them. I realize now that the only one who could stop me biting them was….me. It took over a year to finally quit the habit. But I finally did.

Also, many years ago after my first separation and subsequent divorce, I was in a relationship that I can only describe now as a habit.

It had become a habit…..a bad habit.

I compare it to an old pair of shoes. You know those old shoes, that you think are really comfortable but there’s no support.

Without support, the shoes will become uncomfortable after a time and so will an old habit be comfortable but doesn’t support the new you. You realize that you can’t keep the old shoes anymore and you’ll have to throw them out. You will find that when the old habit isn’t serving you anymore its time to get rid of it. But only you can do it.

Finally, I realized that I had to replace that old habit in order to grow.

I finally got rid of him when I got rid of those old shoes.

The only way to truly eliminate bad habits is to replace them with new positive ones. A change in bad habits will lead you to a change in your life.

The most difficult thing about change is to train yourself to stop making the same decisions that is keeping you from your desired goal. It really is amazing that we do have the power to change when we focus on the outcome and eliminate the things that are holding us back. It will take time and perseverance to break the old habit. The amount of time it takes is completely dependent on your mindset.

Breaking an old habit is going to take commitment and conscious effort but it can be done if you truly desire to do it.

Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight, and no one said it will be easy especially when something is habitual. Try breaking one old habit at a time and concentrate on that one. Often if you try adding a new and better habit at the same time you will have more success in breaking the old one. Work on that one bad habit and don’t get caught up in the fact that you may have a few setbacks. It takes time to change.

For instance, try eliminating too many sweet drinks by replacing them with something healthier. Flavored waters without sugar are a great substitute. Begin by cutting back to one sweet drink a day and replace the rest with the flavored water. Eventually you can work on replacing that last sweet drink and just think about how much healthier you will be. Change your mindset by looking at the long-term benefits.

Joe Dispenza said, “You can change your brain just by thinking differently.”

When you take control of your habits, you take control of your life. Even though some of these changes may seem insignificant and small, they will all add up to major transformation eventually.

Remember this, the first step to changing yourself is to become aware of your own bullshit.

Be a Rebel on Purpose, take control of your bad habits and develop positive ones.

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