As we usually know that it takes 21 days to establish a healthy habit. But the real answer about ‘how long does it take to form an exercise habit’ is complex. Many studies and researches are trying to solve this puzzle.
Among researches, one of the most accredited is the study conducted by Phillippa Lally, researcher and psychologist, issued in the respected European Journal of Social Psychology.
Dr. Lally and her team, to establish the time needed to form a new habit. Se used a sample of 96 people, setting a 12-week time limit.
These people were offered a simple form of exercise like running 15 minutes before dinner.
Well, What Emerged During This Study?
The Lally study showed that, on average, to transform a behavior into an automatism (habit), it takes about two months (66 days to be precise) and, in the sample chosen, people used to form the new habit from a minimum of 18 days to a maximum of 254 days.
It is natural that this time:
- Varies according to the person and his current lifestyle
- It varies depending on the type of habit you intend to acquire
- Varies if the person tries to do it alone or with support
Nevertheless, this data confirms that, in a “normal” situation, the classic 21 days are not enough and, the truth is that, probably, it will take from 2 to 8 months to build exercise a habitual behavior in our life.
It was also found that
“The lack of an opportunity to complete the behavior did not distress the process of forming habits”.
That means, if you sometimes “skip” the routine of running, this will not affect the habit acquisition.
Although in 21 days, a person can make the exercise a habit, in this case running 15 minutes before dinner can become a habit. But there are some conditions. 21 days is the time when a new habit could be acquired:
- If there is commitment
- If you are adequately supported
- If the mind is set and the motivation is higher to achieve the exercise form, for example- exercising for weight loss, exercise for abs.
At the base of everything, there must be a real motivation to acquire the new habit and, logically, carelessness does not help.
The New Habit
I hope by now you are aware of how long does it take to form an exercise habit. Acquiring a new habit, which may be a healthy habit to replace a bad habit, is not a joke and is the best that can happen in a person’s life.
It is a set of processes where one should not make the mistake of focusing on time but on what to do and, therefore, on the strategies to follow. For example, set a routine of daily exercise time and forms.
Again, it is essential to understand that, it is the simple act of starting to do an exercise, which will give the necessary motivation and only by doing it will generate a positive spiral of changes.
But always remember, never overdo it!
The Time Habits Team focus on a stress-free living and better performing life. We provide helpful tips and techniques via blog posts, articles and ebooks. Our goal is to help millennials develop healthy habits, manage time better and level up their productivity.