“But… so and so says it only takes that long…” SIGH
Maxwell Maltz suggested this in Psycho-Cybernetics (1960) – along with visualizing goals and few other pieces that are now standard personal development concepts.
The problem is… that current research suggests that the time it actually takes to change a habit varies depending on the habit, the context, the meaningfulness of the goal, etc. etc. The average time in a recent Stanford University study was… 66 days.
Don’t worry, we’re not starting a bean-counting exercise and we’re also not about “instant fix” vs. “digging out the ROOTS” of change.
We never “fix” habits (they ALWAYS work perfectly – it’s US who doesn’t like the results some of them create, but in themselves habits work just fine) nor do we “dig out the roots” as habits are also not weeds, and have no roots at all.
Placing an agricultural metaphor on top of an imaginary psychological model says nothing about habits or learning, and everything about adding unnecessary overheads to the process of change.
Some things are quicker for you to work with, and other things will take more effort. It’s not the speed; it’s the permanence and fitness for purpose we seek.
We’re in it to build more robust and useful prosperity systems, which will ultimately become self-correcting, when the right skill sets are acquired.
You see, if you learn how to let go of what no longer suits, and stop defending it, and focus on the results you want to create instead, and the process of “working it” until you succeed; the changes are guaranteed. It’s that little word “until” (rather than “if”) that signals commitment to some sort of principled action.
The speed chasers seem to suffer a lack of commitment to their own prosperity and how it is only and always created. Greedy for results without skill.
Wanting to wiggle-waggle their little wands, make themselves feel better for not being as big and cool as the TV ads say they could be or should be. The desire for un-earned success is one of the open doors to being fleeced by confidence tricksters.
And the first person pulling the wool over their own eyes are the speed chasers themselves.
Why be a genuine fake when you can be a genuine success?
Turn time into a resource to be invested wisely on a daily basis, use your weeks and months to moderate and govern yourself, so that the changes and learning can be consistent (with a great upward tick on the graph, if you’re keeping score) and, as you shore up and revise your system of habits, they become supportive of you making further changes – always heading for a better and better way of life.
You see, it’s not about time at all. The process of building a better and better system doesn’t end. It’s about making life great regardless of circumstance; It’s about finishing and finishing and finishing with those bits of the past that have been hanging out as robot-programs – replacing them with habits that turn and turn again towards what is important to you now, for the future.
If your ambitions are about money or “making it” or “becoming BIG”: Ask any really wealthy or “successful” person (who will speak candidly about their experience), and you will discover NOT a soaking-slick super highway memoire journey but instead you will hear about colossal ups and downs, great losses as well as gains (and not few complete busts-back-to-the-starting-line events), humiliations and betrayals, as well as peak moments.
It’s not about “quick” and it isn’t even about permanent (the existentially-terrified seeking of a kind of security that doesn’t exist in this world).
The reality of reality is that regardless of seeming conditions and their fluctuations; life continues.
We build better prosperity systems to be happier and more adaptable regardless of circumstance. We build better systems so that we can always turn to something more desirable or useable or enjoyable at any time we wish.
We build to make the things we think we need or want into reality. We build to find out how we can adapt to the world successfully AND how to make the world successfully bend to us.
Would you be disappointed if I told you “it doesn’t matter one single iota how long any specific change takes if it is necessary to fulfill your wishes and desires?”
Building a Prosperity System is about abandoning the adolescent fantasies and trading them in for the real thing – accomplishment, enjoyment and wide open potentials.
And… because we are building from within the system of habits, rather than opposing them or insisting the work fits in this framework
or that framework (arbitrary frameworks always impose HUGE overheads – not letting you simply change);
We get to build the habits that make change easy; while moving towards what it is we say we want.
One of the great joys you will discover if you do this work thoroughly, is that one day you will just decide that “today’s the day” and you will do things differently than you’ve done them before, and some big thing or behavior you’ve put off working on will just change.
It will seem like magic but it will only be that you have put in enough examples of one (or more) of the principles, and your brain “gets it”, and the robot will click-whirr and there it will be.
It will not be “magic” or “covert change” or “unconscious processes potentiated by priming” or “resolution of subconscious complexes” or any of the nonsense passed round as profundity on the internet.
You will do it because you want what you say you want, have thought it through, “hooked it up” to many other desirable consequences, figured out the resources needed, and then just simply… want to get on with it.
Obstacles and problems will be just grist for the mill (“The business of business is solving problems at a profit” – The One Strategy That Always Works To Build A Business).
We are set up to do things without coercion under certain circumstances. The fact that coercion makes up such a large part of our educational and political systems (and often families as well) means we have suffered quite heavily from this “alien”/outside/other programming.
We are working to take the coercion out of ourselves, stop doing what only breeds resistance, and only do what works. But for most of us it will mean re-orientating our minds to efforting in a different way than we did.
But it is workable, relatively low-energy cost, and it becomes more and more enjoyable as time goes on.
When you (and the robot) finally get it – “the past is just a good-bye”, as Crosby, Stills & Nash put it. Dropping whatever you don’t need will seem natural, and picking up something new will be (ho-hum) just another fascinating adventure in discovering new possibilities.
So…how long does it take to change a habit? No time at all, and also forever and ever, and it doesn’t really matter.
Use today to look back at what you’ve got going well in your Prosperity System, and also what you haven’t got into yet or haven’t done.
Optimize (make better) what is working well.
Then begin working on one of the aspects that you haven’t done as well with. Apply the principles to the principles. Figure out a goal or project, figure out the process, resources, etc. … make it work.