How Long does it Take for a New Habit to Form?

How Long does it Take for a New Habit to Form?

Definition Of Habit

Humans are special creatures, as they can perform actions both consciously and unconsciously. When someone performs something automatically, it is called a habit. Some definitions of habits according to experts include:

1. Habit According to Joko (2008:24)

A habit is a human action that is consistently repeated in the same context.

2. Habit According to Sayid (2006:347)

A habit is the continuous repetition of something over time in the same manner, without rational connection. It is something embedded in the soul from repeatedly occurring and accepted occurrences.

3. Djali (2015:128)

A habit is a way of acting acquired through repeated learning, ultimately becoming established and automatic.

4. Asih (2010:38)

A habit is a daily action repeated in the same context, becoming customary and obeyed by society.

From these definitions, it can be concluded that a habit is an action performed automatically because it has been consistently done before.

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How Long does it Take for a New Habit to Form?

A theory suggests that humans only need 21 days or 3 weeks to form a new habit. This was proposed by a plastic surgeon named Maxwell Maltz. Maltz, in his book "Psycho-Cybernetics," states that humans only need 21 days to change a habit and form a new one. In contrast to Maxwell Maltz, researchers from the California Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, and University of Pennsylvania suggest that humans form the habit of exercising in about 4-7 months. [1]

However, according to James Clear in his book "Atomic Habits," the crucial question is not how long it takes for a new habit to form but how many times an activity must be repeated to make it a new habit. It's not a matter of whether it's 21 days or 300 days; what matters most is the frequency of the action. Therefore, forming a new habit requires consistent practice. [2]

In conclusion, to form a new habit, one should focus on how consistently they can perform an action. The counting of days or time varies for each person. Some may only need 21 days, while others may require more time than that.

Mushpih Kawakibil Hijaj, writer on Shariavest.

References :
[1] Trisna Wulandari, Teori '21 Hari' Dipatahkan, Lalu Berapa Lama Kebiasaan Bisa Terbentuk?, accessed on December 9, 2023, article link :
[2] James Clear, Atomic Habits (Indonesian Translation Edition), Jakarta : Gramedia, 2023, h. 166.