21 Days and waddya get? Three weeks older.

Flylady.net is a real person. I find her ideas and her inner light lovely. Check out her site if you need help with housekeeping.
Flylady is a real person. I find her ideas and her inner light lovely. Check out her site if you need help with housekeeping. Flylady.net

My friend Ros sent me an article called: Habit Formation: The 21-Day Myth. I found it simultaneously repellent and enlightening.

Repellent because it’s macho and corporate, using words like “successful”, “fight”, and “win”. It uses Michael Jordan and the Williams sisters as examples of “success”, rather than, say, M. L. King and Georgia O’Keefe. Reading the piece, I get the definite impression that these folks are “swimming with the sharks”.

Enlightening, though, because it clarifies that “21 days” do not, after all, make a habit. Aha! I wondered about this! I have done plenty of things for 21 days and still not continued them as habits.

The article uses a three-phase model of good habit formation:

  • Honeymoon
  • Fight-thru
  • Second-nature.

Seems obvious once I read it. Nice to see it clarified.

The best wisdom nugget comes from this addition: The “Second-nature” phase, (touted by some to happen automatically after 21 days), can be disrupted, and we need to get back into “Fight-thru” mode.

Now this makes sense. Too often I have braved my 21 days, but fallen all the way back to squat. If I’m lucky, there’s a new Honeymoon, and sometimes another “Fight-thru”, but more often than not I just forget about it after a few days.

So I think I’ll incorporate this model into my year of building better habits, but reword it into a “kinder gentler” approach.

Instead of “success”, how about “fruition”; “gratification”; “growth”? Instead of “fight-thru”, how about “Hold Fast”?

Let’s see…

To form and keep better habits, I need to Hold Fast. When a new habit seems to have become Second Nature, but then gets interrupted, I’ll Hold Fast again. This will increase my joy and contentment.

Hoo boy, it’s hard to leave “corporate-speak” without falling into “Birkenstock-speak”.

How about…

To get my act together before I kick the bucket, I need to stick with the habits I’m trying to form, so I can quit feeling whiny a lot of the time. When I get distracted and/or lazy, I need to suck it up and keep on keeping on.

That’s a little closer.

Feel free to send me your version.

This week’s new habit goal:

My Second-Nature light housekeeping habits are slipping. I’ll revisit FlyLady.net and Hold Fast, and get back that cozy feeling a clean home gives me.

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8 thoughts on “21 Days and waddya get? Three weeks older.

  1. Very interesting, Josie. I am also interested in cultural analysis regarding the benefits of a more cooperative, caring point of view versus the success/fight competitive culture of “corporate-speak”. Glad to see you are pushing forward the boundaries of our human understanding… your mom would be proud.

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    1. Thank you for commenting, GH! I agree with you that my mom would approve, but also, like me, resist “New-Age” speak as well as the more violent forms. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! 🙂

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  2. I’m glad the article was helpful, and I think your revisions are perfect. Your version fits my personality better too. And I love both versions — even the birkenstock one :).

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