How Long Does it Take to Form a Habit?


Courtesy of JK YOG

Habits can be broken and formed at different speeds that are determined by an individual’s mindset.

Fiona Salisbury, Photojournalist

The definition of a habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. Certain habits are easy to pick up, and others are not. Other habits are not so good when some can create long-lasting problems due to them. Different people will give different answers when they are asked how long it takes to form a habit, but researchers have come to a conclusion. For example, Aimee Zhang (10) believes that it would take “at least two months” for an action to become a habit.


In 2009 a study by the European Journal of Social Psychology concluded that it takes on average sixty-six days for a habit to be formed. However, the amount of time it takes for a habit to form can vary due to a number of different factors. Tasks like brushing teeth, drinking water, and getting enough sleep can become habits much quicker than tasks such as exercising more and eating healthier. This is because it is easier to form habits that do not take a lot of motivation and don’t end up changing other preexisting habits.


In order to form good habits faster, excuses should be avoided and goals should be implemented. With enough repetition, new habits can be formed and old habits can be erased. Another good way to work towards forming a new habit is to start with smaller goals. If the desired habit is to allow more time for studying, students can start small by giving themselves an extra twenty minutes instead of a whole hour from the start. When this becomes a habit, more time can be given to studying so that the habit is slowly building up to the overall goal. Smaller goals are easier to accomplish, so if a habit that changes part of a lifestyle is desired, change a few things at a time so a habit is not given up on.


Forming new habits doesn’t happen overnight and especially when working towards difficult habits, time, repetition, and dedication are essential for a new habit to successfully be formed. The average time it takes for a habit to form may be sixty-six days but it can take less time if enough effort is put in and it can also take much longer if it is neglected. With the right mindset, any bad habit can be broken and any good habit can take its place.