Over the last few years, I have read many good books about habits and their importance. Some can oversimplify the challenge of creating good ones. Many promise that if you just do it for 21 days, it is yours for life.

The more realistic approaches say it takes at least 30 days. In his book, The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod describes the process of acquiring the habit of early rising in three phases:

Days 1 -10: Unbearable
Days 11 – 20: Uncomfortable
Days 21- 30: Unstoppable

Based on my experience, I would say this is pretty accurate. By the time you finish 30 days, it is much easier to perform your new habit with less resistance from your mind. In addition, you can feel the benefits of this new habit. For example, if you started the habit of exercising 15 minutes each morning, you will be able to feel your increased energy levels and improved physical condition by the end of 30 days. These benefits will help to motivate you to maintain your new habit.

I would add, however, the importance of not becoming complacent with your new habit. It is important to recognize that letting more than a handful of days pass without doing your new found habit has the potential for throwing you back to Phase 1.

The area that I find this to be most true for me is in the area of clean eating. When I let too much processed sugar, alcohol, processed food, white flour, etc. back into my diet for too long, I can sometimes throw myself back into the Unbearable stage.

Whereas when I just shake off the dust of a bad day or two and jump back into my clean eating habit, I might feel uncomfortable for a day or so, but it passes quickly.

So here is my advice, my friend. Start small. Pick a habit that doesn’t require a lot of time or effort. Starting small is important to strengthening your change muscle. Success breeds success!

Also I recommend, at first, adding a good habit to your life rather than trying to get rid of a bad habit (for example, form the habit of exercising 15 minutes daily before trying to give up smoking). Once you have strengthened your change muscle with a handful of positive habits, you will be ready to tackle those big bad habits!

Next pick a time to do your habit. I find early in the day or first thing in the morning to be ideal, so that life doesn’t get in the way. Set a reminder on your phone or write yourself a big note so that you can’t miss it.
Then work through the first 30 days from unbearable to uncomfortable to unstoppable. Don’t let one missed day stop your forward progress. Shake it off and jump back in!

You will find that this anchor habit will be the beginning for many other positive habits. My anchor habit is exercising first thing in the morning. Exercise empowers me to face life with gusto and confidence. It is the anchor upon which many of my other habits are attached.

And then once your new habit is established firmly, guard it. Be sure not to miss more than a day or so. It is much easier to maintain a habit than to establish or re-establish one.

I have developed a simple habit change checklist to aid you with your habit change. You can get it by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post. Need more help? Please feel free to ask any questions you might have. Remember, you are stronger than you realize and together we can ROCK MIDDLE AGE!


Habits are the key to changing your life... one habit at a time... use this guide to get started on the road to change!


Habits are the key to changing your life... one habit at a time... use this guide to get started on the road to change!