Making a change to your life — whether it's how you eat, work, or play — is always going to be hard. If you're going to try to form a new habit, aim to do it for a month. That will give you enough time to determine how well the change fits with your life.
Photo by Flickr, Dafne Cholet.<
As personal finance blog Frugalwoods explains, when you're aiming to adopt a new habit, doing it for a week isn't really that much of a challenge. Anyone can work out for a week, or avoid eating out at restaurants for a week.
By the same token, if you're aiming to go a whole year with a new habit, you'll be overwhelmed before you start. A month is the perfect sweet spot between being practical, and giving you a good idea if a new habit will work for you. Most importantly, if you can stick to the new habit for a month, you can probably stick to it for longer:
What we've discovered is that once we commit to anything for a full month, it's actually rather straightforward to just keep on doing it. There's something about the month timeframe that feels very doable at the outset, but that's long enough to actually ingrain a habit. A week is way too short, and a year feels like an impossible eternity. I can't tell you how many habits we've changed/broken/created through our one-month test horizon. And if you seriously hate the results after a month, go back and recalibrate the decisions.
Of course, being consistent with a lifestyle change is always the hardest part However, if you're giving yourself a month-long time frame to begin with, it's easier to stomach the change. You can also use that time to determine if you really want to live this way.
Maybe you want to work out more, but decide after a month that going to the gym isn't for you. There are very few habits that you can stick to for a month without figuring out whether you're really happier living that way.