Blog Post

How Long Does it Take to Change a Habit?

Catherine Liska
|
Jul 31, 2017

First of all, let’s answer the question: What is a habit?

A habit is a subconscious chain reaction between the mind, the glandular system and the nervous system. We develop habits at a very young age, and many of those habits are absorbed from the people around us when we are kids because we are such amazing mimics. We continue to create habits during the course of our life, both as coping mechanisms to navigate our life and as unconscious ways of acting that we are doing because everyone else around us is doing them. Some of them serve our optimal health and creativity. Some of them do not.

The bad news is that our habits become ingrained in our brain through the creation of neural pathways that support a particular chain reaction to occur whenever we are triggered by a situation or thought that (without our being conscious of it) kicks off that silent chain reaction of action.

The good news is that we can change our habitual behavior through mindful approaches to moving, breathing, and clearing emotional baggage.

The catch  is… we have to commit to a daily practice and keep up with it for at least 40 days in order to create and establish new neural pathways in our brain that override our old habit. I like to think of it as creating a new habit that allows more resiliency and sense of inner support that is replacing a old habit of self-sabotage and (often) sense of victimhood.

This means that we need to commit to a sense of self-responsibility for creating a new way of be-ing in the world. And that we are also ready to open the door to clean out our emotional closet and mental constructs (beliefs) that may be holding our habitual patterns in place. In other words, we must be ready to commit to change.

So – how long, exactly, do I need to practice a new habit before it "takes hold"?

I find the following guidelines from Kundalini Yoga to be “spot on” from my personal experience.

40 Days

Practice every day for 40 days straight to break any negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through the kriya or mantra.

90 Days

Practice every day for 90 days straight to establish a new habit in your conscious and subconscious minds based on the effect of the kriya or mantra. This will change you in a very deep way.

120 Days

Practice every day for 120 days straight to confirm the new habit of consciousness created by the kriya or mantra. The positive benefits of the kriya get integrated permanently into your psyche.

1000 Days

Practice every day for 1000 days straight in order to master the new habit of consciousness that the kriya or mantra has promised. Then, no matter what the challenge, you can call on this new habit to serve you.

Although these guidelines come from the Kundalini Yoga* tradition as taught by Yogi Bhajan*, they apply to anything we choose to do as a consistent, daily practice in our everyday life.

Because of our brains amazing capacity to literally "rewire" itself we can choose to take action that, when practiced daily for at minimum of 40 days, will break disruptive habits and in 90 days create new, supportive habits!

Take a moment, now, and consider one small thing you would like to do everyday (that will take only 5 or 10 minutes maximum) toward creating more support for yourself.

Okay - do you have it in your mind? Hold this desire and FEEL how wonderful it will be to actually take care of yourself by doing this every single day... REALLY FEEL HOW NURTURED AND SUPPORTED it is to know you are doing this one loving action for your self-care everyday. 

I invite you to "take the leap" and commit to the daily practice of doing this everyday starting today. Remember - No Worries - if you forget to do this loving action one day you'll just start again the net day. No "should haves" are allowed when consciously creating new habits. There are no deadlines as everything will unfold according to Divine timing.

WHAT LOVING ACTION ARE YOU TAKING FOR YOURSELF TODAY?

*When Yoga Bhajan came to the United States and began to teach Kundalini Yoga in 1969 he shared age-old processes (kriyas) of moving, breathing and chanting that, when practiced regularly, result in neural/chemical/glandular changes in the body. Each different kriya is designed to support certain physiological, energetic, emotional and mental transformations that allow the practitioner to align with his/her inner truth and release old habits that interfere with becoming whole. By doing a 40, 90, 120 or 1000 day special sadhana (daily practice), you can rewire that chain reaction. You can develop new, deeply ingrained habits that serve your highest good.

Transition, Integration and The Importance of Mindful Movement

Catherine Liska
|
Oct 26, 2018

4 Keys to Moving With More Ease Each Day

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STRETCH, WIGGLE & BREATHE for Health and Well-Being

Catherine Liska
|
Jul 24, 2018

In my 7 Daily Movement Tips for a Healthy Happy Body I share easy ways to incorporate actions you can take throughout each day to feel more energized, calm and comfortable in your body without using any fancy equipment or spending lots of time. This tip is all about getting your energy flowing from your core to your limbs and opening up to deeper, fuller breathing. Just imagine a cat or dog - they always take a long stretch when they stand up. And doggies often wgiggle from head to tail when they are happy... they just cannot stop the happiness from flowing into their whole body! Just lilke cats and dogs, when we stretch our limbs and our spine we are gently vitalizing our muscles and fascia. And isn't it such a satifying sensation when we allow ourselves to stretch? When we wiggle and gently shake our body we lubricate our joints through the movement of the synovial fluid. The older we get, the more important it is to keep our joints supple and fluid. And when we stretch and wiggle our body becomes able to expand and breathe more fully to oxygenate our blood and move chi (vital life force energy) throughout every cell in our body. The more our chi is flowing the greater our capacity for physical health, mental focus and overall agility. I INVITE YOU TO TAKE 3 MINUTES WITH ME TO WATCH THIS VIDEO AND TRY THIS OUT paying attention to how you feel when you finish compared to when you started. Are you more calm? More energized? Better able to focus? What if you took a few minutes at least once during each day to give this gift of health and well-being to yoursef? Better yet - what if you invited someone to take a break with you and join in doing this each day? My invitation to you is to take this loving action for self-care right now and every single day!

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SEATED MOVEMENT TIP TO RELIEVE TENSION & STIFFNESS IN SHOULDERS AND HIPS

Catherine Liska
|
Jul 31, 2018

If you sit for hours on end this short and simple movement and breath series will energize and revitalize you.The movement sequence will release tension and stiffness in your shoulders and hips by bringing energy into the entire torso using gentle contralateral (moving opposite arm and leg simultaneously) movement. Not only does it release tension but it also bridges the right and left hemispheres of your brain to increase mental clarity and focus. Your ribs gently open allowing deeper breathing which makes it easier to sit tall with a sense of energy. Plus- it you feel fantastic when you've finished! Give it a try and let me know what you think

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