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The 21/90 rule will help you quit bad habits, adopt healthy ones, and achieve all your 2020 goals

Updated on:15 January 2020, 14:08pm IST
Here’s a friendly mid-January reminder: If you are already faltering on your New Year’s resolutions, then it’s time to bring the 21/90 rule in your life.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Quit them bad habits in 2020 with the help of the 21/90 rule. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Rules are meant to be broken–but not this one! But before we get to that, let us ask you a million dollar question: how many times have you tried imbibing a habit? And how many times have you tried to quit one?

You didn’t see that one coming now, did you? 

The thing is that only 15 days have passed since 2020 began, and we bet that many of you are defaulting on your New Year’s resolutions. If that steely resolve is still keeping you going then more power to you sistah! But if you have already called it quits with your start-your-day-with-exercise program and spend each morning under your rajai–toh behno, you’ve come to the right place.  

Because whatever your resolution is, we’ve got the ultimate formula to help you stick to it. 

So, without further ado let us introduce to you the 21/90 rule! 

What is the 21/90 formula?
Turns out, it just takes 21 days to create a habit and 90 days to make it a part of your lifestyle. We aren’t saying it–experts are. 

In fact, they have been saying this since the 60s
The 21/90 formula was born in 1960, when a cosmetic surgeon called Dr Maxwell Maltz wrote a self-help book called Psycho Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life

In his book he suggested that it takes a mere 21 days of practice for an old mental image of us to dissolve and a new one to “gel”.

How to achieve goals
Give your 2020 an amazing kick-start by learning 21/90 rule. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

And science backs it too! A study done at University College London suggests that on average, it takes people at least 66 days before habit starts to feel so automatic and natural that it becomes a part of your lifestyle. Bear in mind that the number is average, and while XYZ can make it happen in less than 70 days–you might take 85. 

Also, read: Live longer and healthier by inculcating these five lifestyle habits

To understand this rule even better, we got Dr Bhavna Barmi, a Delhi-based clinical psychologist, to help us out. Here’s what she says: 

The 21/90 rule is difficult, but possible
Pledging to change is easy, but to make it happen you need a very strong willpower and steely determination. 

So, how can you make it happen? Well, let Dr Barmi spill the secrets:

1. Identify habits and make a plan
Well, this one is easy! First, list down the habits you want to quit and then write down the habits you want to develop. Next, make a plan of how you want to go about achieving them goals.

2. Stay positive
Anytime a negative thought occurs to you and you feel that you’re not going to make it, try to take your mind off of it. How can you do that? Well, think of a person you love or maybe your favourite food–et voila. Mission accomplished! And don’t fixate on the end result, it’s the journey which counts.

3. Take small steps
Small goals means less risk and high chances of success. And once you start achieving your goals, it will boost your confidence. This is why the first few days at the gym are hard, but as you start getting more comfortable on the treadmill and successfully start lifting weights–it gets easier.

4. Remember, consistency is key!
If you don’t want to spend hours in the gym, run for just 20 minutes–at least this way you’ve achieved your daily goal of working out. Consistently committing to a habit is what will help you succeed.

5. Dedicate five minutes daily to an activity you love
Writing, singing, dancing, running, watching cartoons, or whatever else sparks joy–you must do it daily for five minutes. Why? Because it sparks joy and will keep you motivated for other tasks as well.

So, there you go folks! We’ve laid down the 21/90 rule for you. Make sure you imbibe it and achieve your goals in 2020.

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.