If you do a quick Google search on how long it takes for something to become a habit, you'll probably be a bit bummed to realize the response is 21 days. It takes three weeks of doing something for it to become almost second nature to you.
Except, it doesn't.
If you do a more in-depth search of the subject matter (one that still needs far, far more research on), you'll find that experts are now saying it could take anywhere from 18-254 days for something to truly become automatic for you. Most people see a plateau around day 66, but for the most part, it really depends on what you're trying to accomplish.
If your goal was say, to drink a glass of water with breakfast every morning, you'll probably be more successful at making this a habit in a shorter amount of time than trying to enforce a two-mile jog four times a week.
This statistic isn't meant to depress or discourage you, trying to change something (especially into a healthy habit) is a very worthy and honorable feat. I've only been attempting to change my owlish ways for four days now and I find myself wondering "when the hell is this going to feel normal?" Yeah, four days, I'm really impatient, what can I say?
This should stat should actually empower and encourage us all - don't give up on whatever you're trying! It's going to take some time for something to become a habit, change is hard and now we've got science to prove it! Seriously, if it doesn't feel right in a few weeks, stay with it, it WILL get easier!
I find a certain kind of solace now in knowing that it could take anywhere from two and a half weeks to nine months for me to successfully become a morning person. Sure, it's a bit overwhelming to think it could take almost an entire year to change this behavior, but after 26 years of staying up all night and sleeping all morning, what did I expect?
That being said, I'm VERY happy to report I'm seeing some awesome results so far in the four days I've been working towards my lark goal. Some of you have been curious about how the different techniques I've discussed for snoozing have been working for me, I figured I'd do a quick week-one update. Honestly, there's something to be said for this whole hot shower/bath and candle thing. On the nights I let myself soak in the tub with dim lights and a sandalwood candle lit, I was much more in the mood to turn in than when I was up staring at the boob tube or working on my laptop.
Don't have time for a hot soak? No worries, I saw the same drowsy-inducing effects when I lit a few candles (sandalwood has done more for me than lavender) and recorded a few thoughts in my worry journal. I'm not convinced it's the smells quite yet, but the dim, flickering light certainly puts me in the mood to sleep soundly.
I haven't quit my terrible television habit just yet, but I have been setting the timer to turn the television off about 30 minutes into my sleep session. So far, I have noticed my dreams aren't quite as vivid and when I wake up in the middle of the night I'm much quicker to fall back to sleep than I was when my "Friends" reruns were playing in the background.
And to answer the biggest question I've received in emails ... I am still sneaking some me time in. One of my biggest concerns about making the night-day switch was that I would lose my time to catch up on my DVR shows, blog or just read a book if I felt like it. This week I've been turning in around 11:30 and waking up around 7:20. This gives me about an hour of solid me time at night and about two hours in the mornings. So far I've been able to keep up with my shows (I don't watch THAT many but am very dedicated to the ones I do watch), work out for 45 minutes AND blog here and there.
How's that for a successful four days? Tune in tomorrow to find out if any of these wake-up tips have really helped me wake up on the right side of the bed!