Choices and Habits

The recurring theme when catching up with friends and family this Summer has been choice.

Why did Britons choose to leave the EU ?

Why did Americans choose President Trump ?

Why do people choose to eat and drink unhealthily ?

Why do people choose to burn in the sun ?

Why do people choose what is easiest for them ?

Those talking points inevitably led to discussions on why people make choices and when do their choices become positions or habits that they find difficult to change ?

But why do people find it difficult to change?

Perceived wisdom says it only takes 21 days to change a habit yet that has no basis in fact !

According to research conducted by Phillippa Lally, which you can read at How are habits formed, it took between 18 to 254 days to achieve a level of automaticity with a new behaviour. That indicates considerable variation in how long it takes people to reach their limit of automaticity and highlights that it can take a very long time.  The  research also showed that missing an opportunity to perform the new behaviour did not materially affect the habit formation process

While the variability for different people in different situations makes sense, it is the length of time that is unexpected.

Is that why people don’t embark on change, or give up, because their expectation is that it will happen quickly or feel if they regress once then it’s over ?

Change is daunting and it is not easy but if it is in your best interests surely you choose to change.

And if you decide it is easier not to change, that is still your choice.

Maybe it would help from the outset though if you knew how difficult and how long it may take to change ?

One thing is clear that if you never start to change then you never will and your choices will become ever more ingrained habits.

Innovation Engineering can make change easier and happen faster, Innovation Engineering is challenging and hard work. 

There is always a choice!