How discipline leads to habits

I believe our success in life, or lack thereof, is a cumulative effect of the habits we acquire.

A recent study has shown that it’s going to take 66 days on average to acquire a good habit or behaviour. This figure can vary widely on the behaviour, the person, and the circumstances; ranging from 18 to 254 days.

The encouraging thing about building a habit is that if you miss your target once it has no overall impact on the habit formation process. This is important, especially if your desired habit is a daily one, such as writing a blog post, or meditating, or emptying your inbox, or intermittent fasting between 6pm and 10am. (Some the habits I’m acquiring)

What this means is that if your life gets chaotic, as it often will, then missing a day doesn’t mean you have to start all over again.

The hard part about establishing a habit, is having the discipline to keep up the behaviour for long enough until habit formation takes place. This takes considerable energy and willpower. For this reason, I think the best time to form any new habit is early in the morning when you are fresh, rested and your willpower is at it’s peak.

Some people think, that others with good habits must be very disciplined. The reality is that they are disciplined for long enough to establish the habit or behaviour they desire.

Once you’ve reached the magical 66-day mark, give or take, then the effort required to maintain your habit is greatly reduced.

As James Clear said, the only way to get to Day 500 is to start with Day 1. Whatever habit or behaviour you are trying to instil in your life, don’t worry too much about how long it’s going to take. The important thing is to begin.