While there are various programs to help form a good habit or replace an old (bad) one. Most of them have in common some basic steps.

  • Form a plan
  • Identify triggers
    • Design things to encourage the new habit
    • Reduce the things that will sabotage or get in the way of the new habit
  • Set a time period for practicing the new habit (see "Time" below)
  • Work on one habit at a time
  • Start small and start again


There are many Web sites that say research has shown that it takes "21 days to form a habit". This comes from some research done by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. In fact, further research shows the time it takes is far more variable. Research by Lally et al shows a range from 18 to 254 days with an average of 66 days.

Remember, just as a new habit can be formed, it can be broken. So, even if it only took 10 days to form a new habit, it would probably take even less time to break it while it's still fresh.

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