It was a typical April afternoon.
Omi woke up just before the clock hit 1:00pm and glimpsed outside to see the beautiful blue sky.
As usual, he picked up his phone and started his daily trudge through multiple social media accounts, while his mother kept reminding him to freshen up and eat his meal.
After about 15 minutes of aimless browsing, Omi abruptly stopped at a shiny Facebook post.
"Are you one of those who have countless bad habits? Fear not! You can banish all your bad habits within 21 days and develop good ones! Contact us on 555-***-**** today!"
Omi remembered his habits of waking up late, not brushing his teeth before bed, letting his laundry pile up till not even underwear are left, and many, many more.
To him, the post truly seemed like a godsend, as it seemed he will have to be locked at home for at least 3 weeks due to the coronavirus shutdowns.
However, like all wise teenagers, Omi knew anything that looked too good to be true, probably was too good to be true! So, he went searching on the internet.
The first thing he found was, that "21-days to build a habit" was certainly a myth!
According to Phillippa Lally; a health psychology researcher at University College London, a new habit usually takes longer than that.
The 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology said that it takes a little more than 2 months — 66 days to be exact — and as much as 254 days until a habit is fully formed!
Omi also found, some habits are easier to master, like drinking water regularly. But adopting the habit of waking up at a specific time in the morning might take longer.
So instead of looking for a shortcut, he actually looked through the steps needed to form a concrete habit. There are ultimately three phases.
The first phase is something he has already experienced in the past, and he laughed when he saw the name: "The Honeymoon Phase".
This is the phase when doing the task every day, like waking up on time for a few days seems easy.
The second phase is where most people fail, and Omi did too, quite a few times. This is known as "The Fight Thru" phase when people find themselves falling back into bad habits.
For example, after a week of waking up on time, Omi felt demotivated and thought the hassle was worthless.
Apparently, he went back to his previous routine of waking up around noon.
At this phase, it is important to acknowledge that it is going to hard, and remind oneself that going through this would be rewarding at the end. One can also try to visualise how their life would change after the habit is formed.
The third and last phase is "The Second Nature", when the habit is formed and one start doing it regularly.
In this phase, some things can send one back to the "Fight Thru" phase.
Negative thoughts can surface and break the resolve to keep up the habit.
Sometimes a sudden change in lifestyle like a vacation or an illness can also disrupt it.
Omi remembers that every time he started to build the habit of waking up on time, a weekend rolled in and he talked himself into turning his alarm off before going to bed.
Then, poof! His half-formed habit was gone!
All these phases and conditions to finally acquire a habit after months seemed a lot to Omi!
But then again, it would be nice to actually start waking up on time, he thought.
Especially since it would mean his mom would not chase him around brandishing a broom!