As you’re drafting your New Year’s resolutions, you may think that it takes 21 days of repeating an action for that action to become a habit. So, you set out to go to the gym for 21 days, thinking that by day 22 heading to the gym will feel automatic — maybe even fun. It can be daunting to think about going to the gym for a whole year, but 21 days is doable.
We hate to burst your bubble, but that 21-day estimate isn’t true. According to habit expert and myth buster Wendy Wood, this falsehood came from a self-help book in the 1960s and actually described how long it takes to get used to your new appearance after plastic surgery.