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"The 21/90 Rule — Have You Heard About It?"

Post on: May 18, 2020

We are creatures of habit – it is difficult to quit a bad habit. Likewise, it is difficult to form a good habit. So, what does the 21/90 rule got to do with developing habits?

The 21/90 rule states that it takes 21 days to create a habit. And when one continues to embark on it for another 90 days, it becomes a lifestyle. Once we have established this rule, we can take a concerted effort to improve upon the quality of our lives.

Are you game to make some positive changes in your life? However, change is always frightening. We are individuals who delight in being cooped up in our comfort zone than to voyage into the unknown. We prefer to dwell in the status quo – a familiar place; our safe “home ground”.

In 1989, I was deployed as a clerk during my army days. My batch of 19-year-old guys were trained to use the typewriter which was an arduous task for a bunch of exuberant young men raring to traverse the jungles. I remember trudging despairingly towards the typewriting class to practice the fundamentals of typewriting. However, once we had mastered the keys and garnered speed, it was smooth sailing. But our joy was short-lived. The computer was introduced for job efficacy. Another set of hardship loomed and we detested the change. We had to go through training all over again to master “Word Perfect”.

After we had conquered the word processing application, we realised it was so much easier than the typewriter — it was user-friendly and a piece of cake! Editing was such a breeze compared to our “typewriting days” whereby we had to painstakingly retype all over again for one minuscule mistake!

Change is never easy when we embark on it—after setting our mind and practising it, the change which we once despised, has now made our lives simpler….

One effective way is to decide on the positive change you want to achieve – write it down on a piece of paper and verbalise it. Imaging is very important in achieving our goals. This means we visualise ourselves attaining our goal from the onset.

For example, if you want to get a degree, you can visualise yourself going up the stage in your graduation gown and obtaining the scroll from the professor. But let not our visualisations be merely building castles in the air! Put your heart and soul in it — you will win! The prerequisite is you must have a clear and specific goal and a gung-ho attitude to achieve it.

Take baby steps – you can’t change for the better overnight. If you want to embark on a healthy lifestyle, you cannot expect to run 10 km instantaneously and keep pace with your buddy who is a school athlete. On the contrary, you have to be realistic in your approach and draw up a game plan. You can begin with brisk walking every day. Then slowly progress to running 2.5 km which is a reasonable target. Soon you will accomplish your ultimate goal of running 10 km without breaking a sweat!

Make a commitment – the ideal would be performing the newfound task 21 days in a row. However, this may not be realistic at times. If unforeseen circumstance requires that you should miss one day, hold yourself accountable. Don’t make it two days in a row.

It is a pity that most people give up on their pursuits to positive change as soon as they encounter pain and discomfort. Internationally acclaimed author, Robin Sharma advocates that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit in his book, “Who Will Cry When You Die”. He went on to explain, “New habits are like a new pair of shoes: for the first few days, they will feel uncomfortable. But if you break them in for about three weeks, they will fit like a second skin.”

Wow! what great insights from one of my favourite motivational guru! Nevertheless, most people are hesitant to take the first step in executing a positive habit. This is because they fear being seen as someone starting from the bottom, the lowest rung of the ladder. Let us not be one of such people.

By: Shaji Thomas Varughese
#HaveYouHeardAboutThe21-90Rule #JollyGoodTimes #ShajiThomasVarughese

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