I once read that it took 21 days to form a new habit (perhaps replacing an old habit). It worked when I flossed for three weeks and then just did it automatically every night after that. It worked when I started exercising, too. What people don't tell you is how easy it is to fall out of a good habit.
My partner and I got so busy that exercise became sporadic in the fall and then non-existent this past January. So, when I read the article about exercise making us feel nine years younger/living nine years longer, we started exercising again. That was Thursday, February 5th, and now, we're on day 5. Just 16 more days to go, and that sounds immensely doable.
So, for those of you who have also, er, lapsed with your new year's resolutions, have faith! We have eleven months of 2009 left, and all it takes is 21 days to get back on track. Want to quit smoking? Start eating more vegetables or drinking more water? Or anything else? Try it for 21 days, and see what happens.
Interested in running? Here is the couch-to-5k plan. Prior to last summer, I don't think I'd run since middle school P.E. So, if I can do it, just about anyone can.
If you need extra motivation, betting is apparently the new way to go. According to this health and fitness article, people stuck to diets (and other goals) when money and the opportunity to compete were at stake. People competing with co-workers have loved the thrill of surpassing their peers, and as the race tightened, they started leaving gourmet chocolate for each other. But they would also ask each other if they really wanted that sixth cheeseburger. For those who need something stronger, you can give your hard-earned money to a cause you absolutely detest (say, the Guns for Babies Coalition) if you don't carry out your plan.
So, there you have it. What are you going to do with your 21 days?