Mental Health and Addictions Counseling in Vero Beach, Florida
Seeking change is one reason individuals and couples seek counseling. They want to change patterns of behaviors from unhealthy to healthy. In the world of behaviorism, we refer to it as replacement behaviors. We literally want to replace old and unproductive behaviors with ones that are healthier and more acceptable.
As a higher thinking species, we are prone to cycles and patterns of behaviors. Sometimes those patterns can be good ones, and sometimes they can be horrific. Patterns and cycles can be anything; literally. We can have a healthy pattern of waking up every morning, getting dressed and ready for work, working all day, coming home, eating dinner and going to bed. For some that notion sounds horrible and for others, it sounds wonderful.
Change takes time.
Scientifically, the human brain and body do not immediately adapt to a new pattern of behavior immediately, particularly when an old pattern has been embedded in the human psyche for a significant amount of time. That is when individuals become frustrated and give up their goals. In a study by Lally, Van Jaarsveld, Potts and Wardle (2010), the median time to reach 95% of asymptote was 66 days. Asymptote refers to a line that a curve approaches, as it heads towards infinity. It has always been assumed that a good habit takes 21 days to form. I have also heard 30 days. As one of my professors used to tell me, if you repeat something long enough, you will believe it. The question is, do you want to be realistic, or continually lie to yourself?
Forming new habits takes time. You’ll be glad you started 66 days from now. Find a good counselor who can help you with accountability and the process of change.
We are psychotherapist and family mediators, specializing in addictions and high-conflict families.
Lally, P., Van Jaarsveld, C. H., Potts, H. W., & Wardle, J. (2009). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(6), 998-1009. doi:10.1002/ejsp.674