Here in the United States (and in most of the world) we are all trying to adjust to some new behaviors that have been thrust upon us as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. Will these behaviors become your new habits or will they soon be put on a shelf once the crisis has passed? I think it is a choice and now is the time to decide.
Do you know how long it takes to make a new habit? Lots of people think the answer is 21 days. The truth is that it depends on many factors. Habits you enjoy are more easily acquired than one you do not enjoy, that’s logical. Another factor is accessibility to the resources that are needed for the habit. However, the greatest variable is the human that is involved. Surprise! We are not all the same. Top psychologists say that it takes anywhere from 18 up to 254 days to make a new habit.
What about our less desirable habits? Choosing to break a habit is much like developing a new one. It is a process and the length of time varies by the individual. Scientists agree that people who replace the “bad habit” with a “good habit’ have more success in both the short and long term.
Here are my habits that I am going to choose to keep:
- Washing my hands every time I enter my home (in addition t all the other times I was already doing as a matter of habit).
- Really washing my produce rather than a light rinse.
- Calling my friends more often.
- Doing what I can, even when it isn’t much, to help others.
Here are my habits that I intend to break:
- Checking my phone and social media every 20 minutes.
- Spending an hour each morning on Facebook (I didn’t do this before and am not proud to admit that now I seem to do it every day).
- Social distancing, even though I imagine I will always have a “personal bubble” that is larger than most others.
Why decide now when we don’t know how long it will be before we get back to normal? Perhaps I should say, before we find our new normal since covid-19 is game changer. The reason is because just deciding which habits you will keep and which ones you will ditch is the first and most important step to success. You can increase your probability of success by writing it down too. Finally, sharing your plan improves your likelihood even more. That is why I am sharing this today.
Remember the commercial for Southwest Airlines? Oh, what a celebration it will be when we again hear, “You are now free to move about the country!”
Be well my friends and please do what you can to flatten the curve. All lives matter. Let’s love our neighbors like never before and show that love by staying home!
The following are appreciated for the use of their images: Mike Kenneally, Matthew LeJune, Jonathan Borba, The National Cancer Institute, Paul Hanaoka and Francisco Delgado.