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Strategic Discipline Blog

How Long To Create a Habit?

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Feb 12, 2018

daily-habits-quote-fm-alexander.jpg“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” 

~F. M. Alexander

Choose the right habits and you choose a successful future.

How long does it require to create a winning habit?

In The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller, Keller shares the difference between habit and discipline. Any discussion about success, the words “discipline” and “habit” ultimately intersect.

Discipline or Habit

The truth is you don’t need any more discipline than you already have.

You just need to direct and manage it a little better. Success is not a marathon of disciplined action.

Success is a series of short sprints fueled by discipline3.jpgSuccess is a series of short sprints fueled by discipline, just long enough for habit to kick in and take over.

When something needs to be done, but isn’t currently getting done, you might say, “I just need more discipline.”

What you need is the habit of doing it. You need just enough discipline to build the habit.

Stay with this long enough and it becomes routine, a habit. When you see people who are “disciplined” people, you’re really seeing people who’ve trained a handful of habits into their lives.

Habits are hard only in the beginning. Over time, the habit you’re after becomes easier and easier to sustain.

Habits require much less energy and effort to maintain, than to begin.

For more information on Discipline and Habits, check our blog: BIG LIE #3 – Myth of Self Discipline

Developing A Winning Habit: How Long Does it Take?

How long do you have to maintain discipline? In 2009, researchers at the University College of London discovered the answer. When does a new behavior become automatic or ingrained. The point of “automaticity” came when participants were 95 percent through the power curve and the effort needed to sustain it was about as low as it would get. They asked students to take on exercise and diet goals for a period of time and monitor their progress.

Role of Discipline In Achievement (One Thing) Habits From.jpgThe results suggest that it takes an average of 66 days to acquire a new habit. The full range was 18 to 254 days, but the 66 days represented a sweet spot—with easier behaviors taking fewer days on average and tough ones taking longer.

Self-help circles tend to preach that it takes 21 days to make a change. Science doesn’t back that up.

It takes time to develop the right habit. Don’t give up too soon.

Decide what the right habit is. Give yourself the time you need to apply the discipline to develop it.

Halo Effect

Australian researchers Megan Oaten and Ken Cheng found evidence of a halo effect around habit creation. Students who successfully acquired one positive habit reported less stress; less impulsive spending; better dietary habits; decreased alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine consumption; fewer hours watching TV; and even fewer dirty dishes.

Sustain the discipline long enough on one habit, and not only does it become easier, but so do other things as well.

It’s why those with the right habits seem to do better than others.

Doing the most important thing regularly and, as a result, everything else is easier.

This gives new meaning to, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished!

Habits provide an amazing windfall: it simplifies your life. Your life gets clearer and less complicated because you know what you have to do well and you know what you don’t.

Habits ladder.jpgBusiness Winning Habits Formula

In Scaling Up, Verne Harnish outlines the formula for a consistent winning business habit. It starts with the Four Decisions, (People, Strategy, Execution, Cash), a One Page Strategic Plan, and regularly revisiting the Rockefeller Habits to make sure you’re on track.

Strategic Discipline coached through Positioning Systems is the Winning Habit of developing perfect execution. Priority, Meetings Rhythms, Metrics. When we work with customers we help facilitate and train your team on these three essential execution habits.  We maintain a 90 focus to establish your winning habit, coaching your to be accountable to your One Thing, establishing critical, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Annual Meeting Rhythms, and developing individual and team dashboards to make everyone accountable for achieving the results you expect.

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

Positioning Systems is uniquely qualified to help your business develop Winning Habits.

Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $250M) business Scale-UP. We help you align everyone in your business to focus on Your One Thing!  To achieve growth, you need to evolve in today’s rapidly changing economic environment.  Are you avoiding a conversation with yourself on how to can grow your business? Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

Charlton Heston Moses & 10 Commandments.jpegNext Blog – Ten Laws of Prime Business Preparation

A subsequent question is how do you prepare for success? Researching for this blog I discovered an article, Ten Laws of Prime Business Preparation by Jim Taylor, Ph.D., published in 2010. Do the Ten Laws still apply? Will we’ll share and answer next blog.

Topics: Discipline, Discipline Plan, Businesss Disciplines, habits, Winning Habit

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1. Priorities: Determine your #1 Priority. Achieve measurable progress in 90 days.

2. Metrics: Develop measurable Key Performance Indicators. 

3. Meetings: Establish effective meeting rhythms. (Cadence of Accountability)  Compounding the value of your priority and metrics. 

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Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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