I first learned about the 66 days to create or change a habit in Robin Sharma’s book “The 5 AM Club”. I really liked that book and still use many principles from it.
Before reading the book, I thought it took 21 days.
I used the 66 days to implement getting up at 5 AM. The experience played out exactly as described in the book. I found it hard but doable for the first 20ish days. Then one day, unexpectedly, it became excruciating. Things seemed to get in my way, I started to try to negotiate with myself on maybe not doing it on weekends etc. When I checked the calendar I realized I was at about day 21. The things that make you go hmmm.
With the knowledge that things got messy in the middle, I pushed through and got to the other side.
At about 40ish days, it got really easy. I would get up before or at the alarm and it became a part of my life. I eventually shifted it to 6 because my 5 AM was driving my husband crazy. When we invested in a king-sized bed and a new mattress, I moved it back to 5:15 and it felt better than 6.
I thought the same thing might happen with the elimination diet.
Even though you know I knew to watch out for the messy at about 20ish days it still shocked me when I hit it. It’s been about 21 days. Until now, the hardest has been old habit triggers. Steak dinners … goes beautifully with a glass of red wine. Reading and fires, go great with wine or a hot chocolate with baileys. Baths are spectacular with wine. As you can see, my triggers were related to wine. Wine related to relaxing and food. Interestingly, I didn’t associate socializing with wine. Participating in zoom cocktails with water and is perfectly fine. For 20ish days I haven’t craved any food. No pasta, no desserts, no bacon n’ egg McMuffins, no cheese …. I’ve missed them a little. However, exploring other foods has been fun. My husband made us a fantastic avocado soup, this delish curry dish knock off without curry, terra chips and hummus are delicious, I’ve fallen in love with raspberries all over again, and oat chocolate milk is better than milk chocolate milk.
That is until I hit 21 days.
At 21 days, everything seems to be tempting me. All the Valentine chocolate in the grocery store! Cheese! All I want is a cookie! My husband had to go out and asked me if I wanted anything picked up… yes! An egg McMuffin, please! Suddenly, this went from hard but manageable to this is freakin impossible and I’m only halfway! I go into the kitchen and nothing seems to be what I want. Not the raspberries, not the mango, not the oat chocolate milk!
The only thing saving me right now is the knowledge that I have likely hit the messy in the middle part. I think I will need more will power than I’ve needed. The good news is the house is stocked with the right foods and we have learned a lot from the first half of this journey. I’ve got this. I can do it. I will be strong. (suddenly I want to yell: “I HAVE THE POWER!”)
I know that the next couple of weeks will be hard. What I will hang onto is that on the other side, is where it gets good. Where we can start to learn which food we can introduce back and which we will likely just choose to eliminate forever.
What I have also reinforced is how true the 66 days is. Hard at the beginning, messy in the middle and wonderful at the end. 21 days just isn’t enough time to create a habit. At least for me. At 21 days, I hit a major distance. At 21 days I get tested. At 21 days I have to make the choice to give up or power through.
How can you use this information? Now that you know it takes 66 days, will you try to change or create a habit? What habit will you install?
Let me know if you have ever experienced the 20ish day messy middle.
I’ve got this, I can do it, I will be strong … I HAVE THE POWER!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”Aristotle
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
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