Happy New Year! What changes are you going to make for 2022?
You may have heard that it takes twenty-one days to break a habit. But there is some data to suggest that habit change actually takes much longer. According to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes eighteen to two hundred fifty-four days for a person to form a new habit. The study also concluded that, on average, it takes sixty-six days for a new behavior to become automatic. Given that we are a society that flees from commitment, is there hope for us to make change in our lives? There can be, but we have to be willing to put in the work. Nothing changes if nothing changes. And we have to be prepared to get uncomfortable.
From personal experience, I can attest to the fact that it takes a long time to be free of a habit. While a bit more complicated than a habit (addiction is like a complex habit on steroids), it took about seven months for the desire to drink to be lifted from me. That means, for seven straight months, I had the desire and compulsion to drink every single day. But through God’s help, He walked me through that arid desert, reminding me that I would get to the other side of it. And through His grace, that compulsion to drink was indeed lifted. Thank you Lord.
Now, we don’t have to be addicts to have bad habits. As the broken people we are, we tend to have a lot of pesky or even harmful bad habits that we want to break, but we are afraid to let go because they provide a false sense of comfort and security. Habits can become so ingrained and part of how we operate. And much of the time, we don’t even realize the incredible hold they have on us until we try to let go.
So why should we bother trying to get rid of our bad habits? Because I think they serve as distractions. They keep us from living to our fullest potential. They keep us from being even closer to God.
As we kick of 2022, I would love to hear about any funny habits you’ve grown accustomed to or even where God might be asking you to take a step in faith and make a change.
1 Corinthians 10:13