As an elite tennis player, you don’t really step away from competition for long. But there is something about the beginning of a new year that is exciting and makes us want to reset. To do better. To have a better version of ourselves. Starting from scratch.
With the new year underway, it is as good a time as any to help our kids build some new habits. The habit of saying I CAN. Two simple words yet so powerful that when ingrained in the mind, they can weather the storm with strength and determination to push forward.
So, how long does it take to build a new habit? According to Dr. Maxwell Maltz, on his discovery with his patients after their surgery, it takes a minimum of 21 days. But according to Phillipa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, her team found on average it takes 66 days. And me, I say it takes as long as the individual needs. It’s not a race. It’s a life serving habit that is worth keeping it for a long time which will need revisiting periodically.
Here are three things to help build the I CAN habit:
1. Be patient. To replace a habit is a lot harder than starting new ones. Start small and be persistent.
2. Don’t try to be perfect. If your child slips to old habits once or twice, it’s not the end of the world. Get back on track and keep going. Baby steps.
3. Building good habits are a process. It takes work. Hard and deliberate work every day. It’s a process, not an event.