There is a theory that it takes an average of 66 days to break a habit. The amount of time it takes to break a habit is generally between 18 and 254 days. This should often be repeated once or maybe twice depending on what the habit is, something small like chewing fingernail should only have to be done once. Larger habits like smoking should be repeated at twice but every one is different so it could be less. There are sources that phrase the breaking of bad habits under habit-formation and that an individual acquires a new habit within 66 days. A study found that this process is marked by an asymptomatic increase of the behavior, with the initial acceleration slowing to a plateau after the said time period. There are several variations regarding the period of development. For instance, a source stated that breaking a bad habit or changing an unhealthy behavioral pattern such as smoking takes 90 days while forming a new habit that stick requires 66 days.
Will and intention
A key factor in distinguishing a bad habit from an addiction or mental disease is the element of willpower. If a person still seems to have control over the behavior then it is just a habit. Good intentions are able to override the negative effect of bad habits but their effect seems to be independent and additive — the bad habits remain but are subdued rather than cancelled.
The best time to correct a bad habit is immediately, before it becomes established. So, bad habits are best prevented from developing in childhood.
There are many techniques for removing bad habits once they have become established. One good one is to go for between 21 and 28 days try as hard as possible not to give in to the habit then rewarding yourself at the end of it. Then try to go a week, if the habit remains repeat the process, this method is proven to have a high success rate.
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