17 days

17 days is the average length of time it takes for something to become a habit or adopted into the fabric of our daily lives. The story is told of a guy who made a New Year’s resolution to get in shape and lose weight. He goes to the local gym on January 2nd to pay for a new membership. There are so many people he can’t even work out. The manager comes over and tells him to come back in two weeks and the crowd will be gone because they will give up their New Year’s resolutions.

Isn’t that how it is for many of us in areas of life? “ I’m going to start leaving the officer earlier, we are going to budget our income, I’m going to be more present with my children, we are going to save more and spend less, I am going to get in shape, I’m going back to school, I’m going to paint the house, I’m going to be a better husband and dad, we are going to travel more, I’m going to read more, I’m going to,,,,” you fill in the blank.

I find that when you set a new initiative or goal the first several days are great and you have visions of being or doing exactly what you set out to do. Then comes day four and you say, “it won’t hurt if I skip one day. I have done good for three days and I deserve a day off.” When you give in to that thought, you are already on your way to day six or seven when you quit entirely.

If you can hold it together for 17 days you very likely will find on day 18 that you no longer dread it and in fact, began to enjoy it. I don’t know this to be true, but I suspect that if it takes you 17 days to develop a good habit it also takes you 17 days to get a bad habit out of your system. Just saying. KT

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