How long does it take for a new habit to become automatic?
The bad news first: It’s gonna take a while. The good news: There’s something you can do to speed up the process: early practice.
A recent study followed volunteers who wanted to make a positive change in their diet or exercise regime. The researchers found that the time it took for participants to ingrain a new habit into their behavior ranged from 18 to 254 days, with an average of 66 days.
But they found that subjects who practiced consistently – especially early in the learning process – solidified their habits sooner.
Takeaway for trainers: Create opportunities for learners to practice a new skill early and often after a learning experience.
Source: Lally, P., et al. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(6), 998-1009.
Subscribe to Rapid Learning Insights
Get the latest research on workplace learning with weekly posts delivered to your inbox