I did not realize how time and events overwhelmed my ability to reflect and write over the last 5 months. My inability to make diary writing regular for a long time now gets me thinking about habits formation. Why do I choose to be silent in circular thoughts instead of crystallizing them and moving ahead? It raises questions about the relationship between conscious practice and automaticity. Recent research has interesting insights on the topic.
"When the researchers examined the different habits, many of the participants showed a curved relationship between practice and automaticity of the form depicted below (solid line). On average a plateau in automaticity was reached after 66 days. In other words it had become as much of a habit as it was ever going to become."
The graph also shows that early practice was rewarded with greater increases in automaticity and gains tailed off as participants reached their maximum automaticity for their behavior. Although the average was 66 days, it took anywhere between 18 to 254 days for habits examined in this study to be formed. In short, the much believed 21 day myth is a gross underestimation of actual neural ability to reshape itself.
Starting today, I decide to put this theory to test with my own personal growth experiment. I will commit to a few habits which I have been meaning to reach automaticity over the last few years. Allowing for a single day exceptions, I will register the number of days it takes before it becomes natural for me to follow such a routine.
Habit 1: Write a diary entry and update the blog journal every day
Habit 2: Surya Namaskara(Sun salutations Yoga) exercise everyday
Habit 3: 4:00am wake up everyday
Habit 4: Vipassana meditation for atleast 2 hrs everyday
Habit 5: No meal after sunset
On that wise note, let us wait and see if my 5 fold path will lead me up or to the grave :-)