It’s said, or at least it used to be, that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Do something every day for three weeks and suddenly you have a changed behavior. Science says not so fast.
A study in 2009 found that it takes anywhere between 18 and 254 days for a new habit to form and 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.
When the quarantine and self-isolation began depends on your location. We are a Dallas-based firm, and we began the whole process in mid-March. That means we are quickly approaching that 66-day mark. So, what behaviors have our Grovers—both good and bad—adopted in that time?
Kady White, digital strategist
“My sleep schedule has been obliterated. I made the mistake of turning off my morning alarms a few weeks ago, which I just corrected this morning in an attempt to get back on a better schedule.”
Lauren Wyder, search specialist
“Unplugging from the news and social during the weekend. It's probably the one action keeping my mental health together.
“Would love to continue that.”
Madison McDaniel, account executive
“Spending tons of time outside and playing different sports!”
“I’ve been way more sedentary, which they say is ‘the new smoking’ of unhealthy habits. I didn’t realize how many steps I took just to, from, and at an office job where I was predominately sitting. But the contrast has been stark now that I’m working from home.
“To counter this, I started small by adding a daily 10-minute session of strength training exercises, which I’ve done every day since the start of April. Then in May I added a goal of running 4 times a week, but even that hasn’t felt like enough. Now I’m trying to get any extra steps I can with a walk in the morning, during lunch and taking the dog around the block after work.
“I’ve also found it easier to let work creep into my personal life. I often start earlier, work through lunch and keep working later.
“To counter this, I’ve marked my lunch break in my calendar and try to eat on my back patio when the weather is nice. I also set an alarm for the end of the day that I have to keep hitting snooze on until I actually step away from my desk.
“I’ve also been calling my family more.
“And in terms of breaking bad habits, I used to stop at Starbucks at least once a week, but I haven’t been since the start of quarantine.”
Sarah Jenne, public relations specialist
“Before the quarantine, I called my mom every day on my commute home to pass the time (I always used that as a justification for my commute not being terrible). Now, I call my mom when I take walks after work. The commute is looking worse now.”
Katie Long, vice president of account service
“I've been taking better care of my health. I used to be a person who loved to work out 5-6 days per week. After having kids, all I could squeeze in was 3 days per week. I've now been working out 6-7 days per week for 5 or so weeks now, and I feel fantastic. I've also started paying closer attention to my eating habits.
“In terms of WFH, it took about 4 weeks to really get into the right mode.”