It’s hard to change a habit. According to a famous 2009 study conducted by University College London, it took anywhere from 18 to 254 days to change a habit, depending on the complexity of the behavior forming the habit. The more complex the behavior, such as washing your face verses swinging a golf club, the more time it took for the habit to form. Unfortunately, willpower depletion will derail most from habit change, and force you back into old habits, routines and behaviors.
If you are truly disgusted with your life, and desperately want to change your life, what can you do? Well, I have some good news for you. There’s a lazy man’s path to habit change that requires almost no effort at all and it’s backed by scientific research into habit change. In 1921, 1,500 bright children were tracked for more than 80 years in a massive longitudinal study conducted by psychologist Lewis Terman. Terman and his successors collected millions of details about these subjects. Psychology professors Howard S. Friedman and Leslie Martin hen spent 20 years analyzing Terman’s research data and wrote a book about it called The Longevity Project.
According to this research, if you want to change your habits, all you have to do is find some new friends. It turns out, habits are contagious. They have a ripple effect, spreading like viruses, through every person within our inner circle. Exercise, weight loss, weight gain, drinking, reading, smoking and even happiness habits are infectious. If you spend time with different people, you will become a different person. You will be infected by their habits.
This is the very reason why Weight Watchers is the most successful weight loss program around. It’s also why Alcoholics Anonymous is so successful. When you regularly associate with certain people, you become infected by their habits, behaviors and thinking. The people you associate with on a regular basis unconsciously affect your behavior in many ways, both positively and negatively. This is why you should choose your friends, coworkers and relationships very carefully. If they have habits that create an exceptional life, eventually you will become infected by those very habits. Our associations dictate the life we have. Make sure those associations are exceptional.