You’ve heard it takes 21 days to make a new habit stick. But if you’re on Day 20, we’ve got some tough news. A study found it’s not true.
Researchers at Caltech looked into it and found there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer like that. They say the “21” number isn’t based on any science. How long it takes depends on what the habit is, and other factors like your personality.
They looked at two different habits to see how long it took for each one to stick: Handwashing, and going to the gym regularly.
3,000 hospital workers had to get into the habit of washing their hands more. And that one only took a few weeks to catch on.
But they also tracked 30,000 people who signed up for gym memberships. And they had to keep going an average of SIX MONTHS before it became a habit. So tougher habits require more patience.
It took even longer than that for some people. One big factor was how long it had been since the LAST time they went to the gym. So if you haven’t worked out in years, you might have to keep pushing yourself for a while.