Time to read : 5 min

This is how you adopt a new habit

13 November 2022|Lifestyle

Daily life is woven together by habits. You wake up around the same time every day, take a shower, prepare your breakfast, brush your teeth, and follow the same route to work.

Having habits gives us rhythm and peace. But sometimes, you want to learn a new, better habit. So... how do you go about adopting a new habit?

The power of habits

A habit is a routine of actions and behaviors that are regularly repeated and performed almost unconsciously. Take, for example, brushing your teeth: most people brush in the morning and evening, following a specific sequence of actions. The entire process unfolds almost automatically, allowing our minds to wander.

About 45% of all daily activities are carried out on autopilot without much thought (1). Humans love habits! Not surprising, as this routine behavior comes with many advantages. It brings peace of mind, requires less energy, and prevents procrastination. Moreover, with the right habits, you ensure that you achieve your long-term goals, such as maintaining a healthy smile or a well-groomed, strong body.

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Developing New Habits in Five Steps

Want to adopt a new habit? For example, incorporating daily exercise, creating a moment for yourself every day, taking your Orangefit daily, or eating three pieces of fruit each day? Then approach it systematically! The following steps will guide you.

Step 1: Focus on One New Habit First

Don't jump into multiple ideas right away; instead, concentrate on one new habit initially. Trying to do too much at once may lead to forgetting one of your habits. When forming new habits, it's crucial to stay consistent and focused.

For instance, if you want to exercise more or eat healthier, try establishing a routine of taking your vitamins every morning or engaging in 15-30 minutes of activity each day.

Step 2: Set a Trial Period

Developing a new habit involves consistently and routinely performing the same action at specified times. By setting a trial period, you create a clear endpoint for yourself. You work towards this, and afterward, you evaluate whether this new habit suits you.

For a new daily habit, consider setting a trial period of one month for yourself.

Step 3: Link Your New Habit to an Existing One

You can use your existing habits as anchors for new habits. This makes it easier to remind yourself of your new habit and ensures that it becomes a genuine part of your daily life.

A few examples:

  • Press twenty times as soon as you get out of bed.
  • Take your daily vitamins during breakfast.
  • Go for a walk or a short bike ride after dinner.
  • Floss your teeth after brushing.
  • Read ten pages of a book before bedtime.

Step 4: Start Small

Want to eat healthier? Begin with a nutritious breakfast. Want to move more? Start with 15 minutes of walking or cycling each day and gradually increase it. Looking to spend less time on your smartphone? Buy an analog alarm clock and leave your phone in the living room at night.

Starting small makes adopting your new habit a realistic goal. Once your new habit is ingrained, you can expand or intensify it.

Step 5: Reward Yourself

When you've achieved a specific goal related to your new habit (e.g., successfully completing the one-month trial period), it's time to reward yourself! Treat yourself to a movie night or make a reservation at that restaurant you usually find a bit too expensive.

Plan a reward in advance and mark it on your calendar. This way, you have something to look forward to, keeping you motivated during the trial period.

How long does it take to learn a new habit?

Learning a new habit involves various variables, such as the activity, difficulty level, the individual, potential associated costs, and more. Consequently, it's challenging to specify precisely how long it takes to develop a new habit.

Research from 2009 suggests that, on average, it takes about 66 days to form a new habit (2). However, the exact duration varies significantly from person to person. The research also indicates that it can take anywhere between 18 and 254 days for someone to adopt a new habit fully.

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