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The Truth About Habits

By Marcus Santer

The Sunday Quote:

“You see Dave, a losing streak is like joining the Moonies.
Easy to get into but a bark to get out of.”
Trigger – From Only Fools and Horses

Only Fools and Horses (OFaH).

My, my.

Greatest comedy ever.

Not just in the UK, but the world.

I grew up on it and I’ve recently gone through the whole series again with Ollie.

Which is incredible when you consider OFaH first aired in 1981.

And 35 years later it’s making my son laugh out loud.

Now that’s quality entertainment.

And it’s funny because whenever I think of habits, I think of Trigger’s quote about joining the Moonies.

Because bad habits are the same as losing streaks…

Easy to get into but a bark to get out of.

And good habits?

It seems like they’re exactly the opposite doesn’t it?

Hard to get into and easy to get of.

S’not fair is it?

Anyway, I’m in a rush today.

I’ve got a Tax Return to complete, the final edits on this months ZEN+ Journal to do and I’ve got to take Clarabella for some driving practice in 10 minutes so I’m going to cheat and copy a chunk of text about habits from my book:

ZEN+ The Art and Science of Living and Ageing Well.

Here it is from page 20 and 21:

Your Life is the Result of What You Do,
Not What You Know

Bad habits are like joining a weird religious cult; easy to get into and hard to get out of. Chances are that you have a habit or two that you could benefit from ditching?

As you read through this book, my hope is that you’ll find a new habit or two you’d like to acquire. So I need to tell you the truth about habits, about getting rid of bad habits and about installing new ones. Here goes…

Most people attempt to get rid of a bad habit by will power alone. You can do it like that, but there is a simpler way.

The truth is, only a habit can get rid of another habit.

Let’s say that you have a habit of eating your own bodyweight in chocolate every day – a habit I used to have. You could simply do your best to resist chocolate.

You might succeed. I certainly didn’t.

Eventually I opted for a new habit, a habit of eating more raw vegetables. Instead of grabbing chocolate from the cupboard, I’d grab a carrot and a pot of hummus instead. It worked, but it took time to replace the habit. Now you know how to get rid of a bad habit, it’s time to look at how you can install your new good habit in such a way that it sticks.

Common folklore will tell you that it takes between 21 and 30 days to install a new habit. This is not correct. A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology paints a rather different picture.

Phillippa Lally and her colleagues at University Collage London observed 96 people who wanted to form a new habit.

To cut a long story short, the average time required to install a new habit was 66 days, with the full range being between 18 days and 254 days. The researchers discovered the length of time to install a new habit was affected by the level of dedication the habit demanded.

For example, the habit of drinking a daily glass of water was much quicker to install than doing 50 sit-ups before breakfast (personally I’d recommend you do push- ups instead).

Armed with this information you will no longer be disillusioned if it takes you longer than 21 days to install your new ZEN+ lifestyle.

****

Right, I gotta buckle up and hold on tight whilst Clarabella drives around Dawilsh Warren.

Wish me luck!

You on the other hand should grab yourself a copy of my ZEN+ book and:

Get started on the ZEN+ 30 Day Challenge

If you haven’t already got a copy…

You can rectify that error here.

Bye for now

Marcus

P.S. Habits in a nutshell:

Only a habit can get rid of another habit and the amount of dedication involved will dictate how long it takes to install the new habit.

For another 119 tips to help you live and age well…

Get a copy of my book: ZEN+ The Art and Science of Living and Ageing Well.

Only available here.