So that got me reading and researching. The idea of 21 days of a certain task leading to a new habit being formed, is largely a myth. The myth comes from the research of plastic surgeon, Maxwell Maltz, who in the 1950s noticed a pattern among his patients. He wrote that he noticed it took patients about 21 days to become accustomed to their new face, or after an amputation, about 21 days for the patient to adjust to their new situation.
It's Day 21 for me and I can tell you that I have not formed a new habit. I still want pizza, and a doughnut, some cheese enchiladas. Last weekend I stopped at my favorite doughnut shop to buy my kids each a treat. I didn't go in. I just gave the money to my son and said go pick one out. My resolve is to lose weight and be more healthy. But that doesn't mean I don't want one--because I do. Alot.
But then I found this from Tom Bartow, a highly sought after business coach. It's his model for three phases of habit formation.
Phase 1 is "The Honeymoon." At first it seems easy. Then reality sets in and you have to work through some things.
Phase 2 is the "The Fight Through." As Bartow says, "Inspiration fades and reality sets in." This is where you find yourself in a struggle between the old and the new. You want to lose weight, but a pizza sounds so good... You want to do A, but B would be easier... Bartow says to fight through these urges. It might take as two or three victories to fight through that temptation. But losing that battle makes it easier to lose the next battle too!
Phase 3 is "Second Nature." It's like settling in and the new habit happens. However, be careful of discouragement (someone says something that gets into your thinking), disruption (holidays, travel, vacation), and overconfidence (a feeling of invincibility). These things can put good, new habits on the back shelf.
On day 21, I'd say I'm entering Phase 2. I realizing I have to keep fighting through. I've got great results so far, and I feel good. But I find myself fighting thoughts about "when I'm off this diet..." In fact, as I'm writing this, I got an email advertisement from my favorite restaurant advertising $10 off my next meal and it has a picture of carrot cake. I love carrot cake. So I have to check that self-talk and say, "No! This is my new lifestyle. I care about myself. I care about my wife and my kids. And I want to be around for along time with them."
New research suggests habits are formed in as little as 66 days. Maybe. Maybe not. I'll let you know when I get there. Either way, I hope my brief description of my thoughts and struggles is a help to someone along the way.
WEEK 3 RESULTS
Weight Loss for Week 3: 5 pounds
Weight Loss Overall: 29.4 pounds
Waist Loss for Week 3: Down 2 inches.
Waist Loss Overall: Down 5.5 inches.