It has been 2.5 months since I started walking as an exercise. From only three times a week to every day. From only 2000 steps each time to 6500 a day. Lately, I became pretty consistent with this habit (even though no kilograms reduced yet).
It is well known that it takes 21 days to build or break a habit. Whether you want to spend one hour a day learning the Korean language (better to transform that plenty of hours of watching k-drama into something useful, right) or to stop drinking coffee, you have to do it for three consecutive weeks. You may skip it one or two days during those three weeks, but more than that will make it difficult to get back on track.
Furthermore, if you keep doing it for the next 69 days after it becomes a habit (total 90 days), the habit will change to a lifestyle. While habit relies on willpower and self-discipline, lifestyle is already embedded in your behavior that you may perform it unconsciously. It requires harder efforts to break a lifestyle than a habit.
This rule of building persistent habits and lifestyles is popular as Rule 21/90: 21 days to create a habit and 90 days to build a lifestyle.
My recent exercise routine is not yet reaching the lifestyle level. But I have another good example of that. I read a book for at least 30 minutes a day, and it has been going on for some years. I might skip it a few times, but it was not difficult for me to return to this routine. I also feel something’s missing if I do not read a book that day. One of my resolutions in 2020 is to read 50 books. In this first week of December, I have read a total of 46 books, so I think I am quite good on the track.
My next target after the walking exercise is to spend at least one hour a day writing, in support of my goal to produce a book. I believe a specific habit like this will help me achieve that big goal. Doing one small step a time continuously will bring you to your destination eventually.
Another lesson I learnt from my experience in building a habit is you should focus on one habit at a time. Once you consider you have controlled one new habit, you may move on to execute another one. I have tried cultivating several habits in parallel, in the end, none of them worked. List down your priorities, then complete them one by one.
What is your current goal in life? Chunk it into one tangible habit everyday that can push you closer to your goal by using the 21/90 rule.