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.


*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.

Move Your Body to Declutter Your Emotional Closet

Catherine Liska
Jun 21, 2020

KundaliniYoga Practice to Separate Thoughts from Emotions: This simple movement sequence unravels the reactive thought patterns that recur due to unconscious emotional processing.The emotional energy is transformed and thoughts are, in a sense, "detached" from the emotional energy to allow clarity of mind and calmness in the physical body.

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Gentle Seated Hip Flexor Release to Relieve Pain and Discomfort

Catherine Liska
May 24, 2020

If you have ever experienced a sense of aching hip joints or pain in your buttocks you may have an imbalance in your hip flexors. This often happens from sitting too long or from a lack of strength on one side of your body. ‍Our hip flexors are very easily affected by stressful situations and the body is designed to flex us forward into a fetal position as a protective response. We often don't even realize our body is doing this flexion pattern as it is hardwired into our mind-body connection by the nervous system. THIS VIDEO IS A SEATED PRACTICE TO FIND MORE SENSE OF SPACIOUSNESS AND EASE IN THE HIP FLEXORS.

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Self-Love: 3 Minute Heart Chakra Breath Meditation to Relieve Stress

Catherine Liska
Mar 18, 2020

Self Love begins with taking time to nurture oneself and connect with our heart, breath and entire body. This 2-part video gives instructions for a simple and relaxing breath centered mediation that activates the magnetic field around the heart while using all 5 fingers to balance the 2 hemispheres of the brain and providing a breath pattern and eye focus that focus the mind to calm the nervous system. Part 1 is a short, step-by-step description of how to do the meditation. Part 2 begins at the 5 minute marker and provides voice instruction and soothing music with a background video of water lapping on a sandy shore taken while I was visiting Belize. The meditation in part 2 is practiced for 3 minutes, but can be practiced for up to 11 minutes if you choose. I highly recommend watching the description of how to do the meditation in part 1 before doing the practice in part 2 for the first time. Part 1 (instructions) is 5 minutes long and Part 2 (meditation practice) is 7 minutes long. My intention in sharing this video is for each and every person who views it to experience a sense of his/her connection to unconditional love and light that interconnects All of Creation. May this practice assist in letting go of self-judgment and open you to remembering your own divinity as a spark of the light of Source. I also acknowledge, with gratitude, that this meditation is from the tradition of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.

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