How Long Does It Take for a Good Habit to Set in?

Bad habits, for instance smoking, drugs, and alcohol abuse, develop quite easily because they have a very strong backbone – excitement of pleasure centers in the brain. On the other hand, it takes time do feel pleasure from jogging or taking a walk.

Time for Good Habits

The study conducted by the Center of Healthy Lifestyle (University College London) involved 96 volunteers. The participants were offered to perform one of the three healthy activities (eat fruits for dinner, jog for 15 minutes in the evening, or drink a “vitamin drink”) for 12 weeks. The habit was considered to be developed only if doing the activity did not require extra effort and did not trigger internal protest.

The authors note that jogging required the most time to set in as a habit, while fruits and healthy drink required substantially less effort. On average, the participants started to perform the activity “automatically” roughly by the 66th day of the experiment. So, next time you decide to make your way of life healthy, try to stay patient to let the good habit set in.

The results of the study were published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

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