Change after Lent won’t last: Science


MANY of us will be using Lent as a time to examine and deepen their spiritual lives – maybe by changing our prayer habits, putting others first more often or resisting daily temptations.
During this time of reflection, we might come up with a “spiritual to-do list” that will hopefully lead to a meaningful Lenten season.
Yet, science shows that positive habits that begin during Lent will become second nature not long after those 40 days.
A post by James Clear discusses a study carried out by health psychologist, Phillippa Lally at University College London, which found that on average, it takes people just 66 days to form a habit – that’s just 26 extra days of effort after Lent.
The study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, looked at the behavioural habits of 96 participants.
The group was asked to select a new habit to perform each day over a 12-week period.
They were asked to note each day if they carried out the habit and to what extent was it automatic.
The new habits were based on an activity, or a drinking or eating behaviour that would be carried out at a consistent time during the study period.
Somebody might choose to drink only water with lunch for example, or go for a run before a meal.
The researchers looked at the data after 12 weeks and could tell that it took on average 66 days to adopt a new habit.
While some participants felt their new behaviour came automatically after only 18 days, it took others as many as 254 days. – aleteia


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