100 Days to a New Life

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According to the famous University College London habit study, it can take anywhere from 20 days to 254 days for a habit to form, with the average habit taking approximately 66 days.

A habit is formed when brain cells (neurons) form a long-term synapse. A synapse is a neural pathway that is created in the brain when two or more brain cells repetitively communicate with each other. If that communication continues long enough, a part of the brain called the basil ganglia, reaches its tentacles out (axon filaments) to the synapse, marking it as a habit. Once a synapse is co-opted as a habit by the basil ganglia, that synapse, or neural pathway, never truly dies, even when the activity that created the synapse ceases. They are often brought back to life during periods of stress or emotional duress. This is why habits are so hard to break – the neural pathway becomes permanent once it is marked as a habit.

100 Day Challenge

Consistency transforms behaviors into habits. Adopting good daily habits can only happen if you consistently engage in those habits every day. One strategy to make good habits stick is something called the 100 Day Challenge. Here’s how it works: for 100 days, focus on engaging in one new habit for 100 days in a row. By the end of the 100 days the neural pathway will be strong enough to get the attention of the basal ganglia and will in all likelihood become a permanent habit.

The key is to focus on only one habit during this 100 day period. Here are some new habit ideas:

  • New Exercise Habit: For 100 days run, jog, walk, cycle, lift weights for 20 minutes a day.
  • New Self-Education Habit: For 100 days read for 20 minutes a day, or listen to a podcast, or watch TEDx talks, or study something related to your job or career.
  • New Skill Habit: For 100 days practice some new skill for 20 minutes a day.
  • Healthy Eating Habit: For 100 days reduce how much junk food you eat by 300 calories a day.
  • Change TV Habit: For 100 days reduce how much TV you watch by one hour a day.
  • Change Social Media Habit: For 100 days reduce how much time you spend on social media by one hour a day.
  • No Gossip Habit: For 100 days avoid gossiping about anyone.

After 100 days the synapse or neural pathway will be strong enough for a permanent habit to form. Then, apply the 100 Day Challenge to another individual habit.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
 
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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