“We are what we repeatedly do.” Says Will Durant Paraphrasing Aristotle’s “Excellence is not an act but a habit.” Two men, Centuries apart, provide timeless advice for forming new habits. What these two men fail to answer is how long does it take to build good habits? The goal of the 28 Day Nutrition Challenge is twofold: one, provide you with a foundation of knowledge required for healthy eating and other lifestyle changes. Two, establish a series of habits that will help you meet your nutrition goals. These goals are more than practical; they are realistic.
Let me start by saying what the 28 Day Nutrition Challenge is not. It is not a silver bullet that will quickly remove all the unwanted body fat or add 10 pounds of muscle. That is not possible in the span of 28 Days. 28 Days is however, enough time to develop good habits that will replace old ones.
“In a study carried out at University College London, 96 participants were asked to choose an everyday behavior that they wanted to turn into a habit. They all chose something they didn’t already do that could be repeated every day; many were health-related: people chose things like “eating a piece of fruit with lunch” and “running for 15 minutes after dinner.” Each of the 84 days of the study, they logged into a website and reported whether or not they’d carried out the behavior, as well as how automatic the behavior had felt.”
This study found that depending on the habit the time it took for the habit t become automatically varied, but on average it usually took participants 21 Days. However that doesn’t mean if something doesn’t become a habit in 21 days it’s time to throw in the towel.
There is no need to judge yourself if you can’t master a behavior in 21 short days. First, learn to embrace the long, slow walk to greatness and focus on putting in your reps.
Second, you don’t have to be perfect. Making a mistake once or twice has no measurable impact on your long-term habits. This is why you should treat failure as a scientist, give yourself permission to make mistakes, and develop strategies for getting back on track quickly.
And third, embracing longer timelines can help us realize that habits are a process and not an event. All of the “21 Days” hype can make it easy to think, “Oh, I’ll just do this, and it’ll be done.” But habits never work that way. You have to embrace the process. You have to commit to the system.
Understanding this from the beginning makes it easier to manage your expectations and commit to making small, incremental improvements — rather than pressuring yourself into thinking that you have to do it all at once.
If you’re interested in signing up for our 28 Day Challenge or know someone that might be, click the link at the end of this article.
To your Continued Success,
Coach Don Gilbert