It Takes 66 Days to Form a Habit - Tips to Make it Stick

It Takes 66 Days to Form a Habit - Tips to Make it Stick
Table Of Content
Close

The Power of 66 Days to Form New Habits

It's a new year and time for new beginnings! As we embark on our health and fitness journeys in 2024, it's important to set ourselves up for success. An essential component of success is understanding the science behind habit formation. Research shows it takes an average of 66 days for a behavior to become automatic. So if you want to establish exercise, healthy eating, or other positive habits this year, be sure to give yourself at least 66 days before expecting it to stick.

Harness the Science of 66 Days

The concept of 66 days has become popular because it resonates with our experience. It captures just how long it takes for a behavior to transition from being a struggle to second nature. The key is consistency—you have to practice the habit every day for at least 66 days without fail. It won't happen overnight, but if you put in the work day after day, you'll wake up one morning and realize you've formed a new habit with ease.

Start Today

When it comes to achieving your 2024 goals, there's no better time to start than today. Every day counts when you're trying to form a habit, so don't keep pushing it off. Treat today as day 1 of the next 66 days that will change your habits for the better.

Maybe you want to establish a workout routine, cook healthy homemade meals, or practice mindfulness. Whatever it is, believe that you can succeed. Every habit starts small—just focus on sticking to it day 1. Even if you mess up, get right back to it the next day without being hard on yourself. The key is persistence.

You Got This!

It's easy to be filled with motivation and inspiration on January 1st for our goals. But when February and March roll around, that inspiration starts to dwindle. Life gets in the way, unexpected events occur, and it becomes easier to hit snooze or grab takeout instead of meal prepping. So when those moments happen, remember why you started.

Building habits requires hard work and consistency even when you don't feel motivated. The good news is it does get easier over time. Those first 66 days are an investment that will pay dividends for years to come in the form of healthy, automatic habits. You already have what it takes to be successful.

Tips for Turning Goals Into Habits

Building habits can feel overwhelming, especially if you try changing too much too fast. Here are tips for transforming your 2024 goals into lasting habits one step at a time:

Start Small

The most sustainable habits start small. Trying to run 5 miles every morning when you currently don't exercise is setting yourself up for failure. Instead take baby steps—maybe it's walking for 10 minutes per day the first week, then 15 the next. Build slowly from there until it becomes a habit, then you can ramp up.

Remove Friction

Make your new habits as easy as possible to do. If you want to meal prep every Sunday, get all your containers, equipment, and ingredients ready to go the night before. The fewer obstacles in your way for sticking to the habit, the better.

Schedule It

Habits need to become embedded in your routine until they stick. Schedule your new habit like any other appointment. Sign up for workout classes in advance, block off meal prep time on your calendar, set phone alarms—do whatever it takes to make sure it happens.

Reward Yourself

Positive reinforcement helps habits take hold. After your workout, treat yourself to a hot bath or favorite TV show. Finish your meal prep and enjoy the rest of the day guilt-free. Have an extra glass of wine Sunday night to celebrate getting ready for the week ahead!

Get an Accountability Partner

We're much more likely to stick to new habits if someone else is also counting on us. Recruit your significant other, best friend or family member to embark on this habit change journey with you. Check in with each other frequently for motivation and support.

Forming Lasting Fitness & Health Habits

Establishing long-term fitness and health habits requires playing the long game. There will inevitably be setbacks along the way—illnesses, injuries, busy seasons at work. Expect your motivation to crater sometimes. But remember why you started and trust that staying persistent will pay off over time.

Be Compassionate With Yourself

Treat yourself with kindness, patience and understanding, especially in the early days. You’re trying to rewrite years of habitual behavior—that’s really hard! Everyone has ups and downs while building habits. When you slip up, get back on track the next day. One missed workout or unhealthy meal isn’t failure.

Track Your Progress

Stay motivated by documenting your habit journey. Keep a journal of workouts, record healthy meals in MyFitness Pal, or use habit tracking apps. Seeing your small daily progress add up over weeks is incredibly energizing.

Find Your People

Connecting with others pursuing similar goals makes habit change feel less lonely. Find like-minded people in online communities, take group fitness classes, hire personal trainers and nutritionists, whatever it takes! Use hashtags like #fitness, #gymmotivation and #momswholift to find your people.

Stick With It: You’ve Got This!

Remember, it takes at least 66 days for a habit to stick. Some days will feel great, you’ll be filled with energy and motivation. Other days will feel like a struggle bus. Both are normal and expected! Habit change is simple, but it isn’t always easy.

The key is persistence. Keep going. Stay consistent. Trust in the process. Someday that habit you’re building will become second nature and you won’t remember life any other way. You’ve already shown commitment by starting—now stick with it! Stay focused on why you began this journey, rely on systems and community for support during the tricky times. You’ve got this!

FAQs

Why does it take 66 days to form a habit?

Research has found that on average, it takes 66 days of consistent repetition for a new behavior to become automatic. The brain needs time and practice to rewire itself to create new neural pathways that make habits effortless.

What if I miss a day while trying to build a habit?

Don't be too hard on yourself. One missed day does not mean failure or that the habit timer gets reset back to zero. Just get back on track with the behavior the next day without self-judgment. Persistence is key.

How do I stay motivated for 66 days?

Make the habit easy, reward yourself, track your progress, schedule it, find an accountability partner, join a community, remind yourself why it matters to you. Use short-term motivation boosts to help bridge the gap until it becomes self-sustaining.

What habits are best suited for the 66 days technique?

It works best to choose small positive habits to build sequentially over time, rather than massive overhauls all at once. For example, regular workouts, mindfulness, tracking food intake or writing in a journal.

What happens after 66 days?

At around 66 days, you will reach a tipping point where upholding the habit requires less effort and conscious decision-making from you. As you near automaticity, you can build on the habit by increasing challenge and adding complementary habits.

Advertisement 1

Advertisement 2


More from Learn

What is an IUL and How Does it Work?

What is an IUL and How Does it Work?

An in-depth analysis of Index Universal Life (IUL) insurance, how it works, benefits it provides for savings, financial protection, and more. Learn about how IUL policies allow you to accumulate cash value while enjoying index-linked interest returns

Rugs.com Offers Free Rugs to Appreciate Hardworking Teachers

Rugs.com Offers Free Rugs to Appreciate Hardworking Teachers

Rugs.com has launched a pay it forward program to give K-12 teachers and educators free classroom rugs worth up to $300. The program aims to appreciate teachers and help brighten up their classrooms with new flooring.


Why Birds Love Math?

Why Birds Love Math?

A lighthearted look at the viral video 'What's a bird's favorite subject?' and the surprisingly strong connection between birds and mathematics.


Understanding Madd Rules in Tajweed Recitation of Quran

Understanding Madd Rules in Tajweed Recitation of Quran

Learn the essential concepts of madd in tajweed including rules and types like Madd al-Badal, Madd al-Lazim, Madd al-Muttasil. Understand how to apply madd to perfect your Quran recitation.


The Benefits of Handwriting on Dry Erase Boards for Learning

The Benefits of Handwriting on Dry Erase Boards for Learning

Handwriting on dry erase boards builds skills in children while enhancing memorization and creativity in students of all ages with the ideal erasable surface.