Want to make a change in your life? Give yourself four days. That’s the word from psychologist Martha Beck. She has a book out called The Four-Day Win – and she says when you start something new, like a diet, you need to give yourself an adjustment period of four days. If you can get through those first four consecutive days on a new plan, you’re on the path to success. So let’s look at that diet example.
Instead of drastically slashing your calorie intake, Beck says you should start by cutting 100 calories a day and then give yourself at least three days to mentally and physically adjust to the change. By day four, you’ll hardly miss those 100 calories, and that’s what Beck calls a 4-day win. Same goes for a new exercise plan. Start by walking for 30 minutes three days in a row. By day four, your body will be adjusting to the extra activity and you’ll mentally be in the groove.
Then, start another 4-day cycle by cutting another 100 calories or adding an extra 15 minutes to your walking routine. Keep this up for five 4-day cycles – and every new cycle, kick things up a notch. By the end of that total of 20 days, you’ll have formed a new, hard-to-break habit. Because psychological studies show that it takes 21 days to make a new habit stick. If you want to try this plan, check out Martha Beck’s book The Four-Day Win.