The Three Phases of Habit Formation

The habits of highly successful people allow them to perform behaviors consistently that breed success. Most people believe that they can form a habit in 21 days if they consistently perform the desired behavior consistently for approximately three weeks. However, this simply a realistic view of how habits are formed. The formation of habits actually takes place through three distinct phases, the honeymoon phase, the fight thru phase, and the second nature phase.

Habit Formation

The Honeymoon Phase

The honeymoon phase of habit formation is often characterized by the feeling that it’s easy. As most married people will tell you, at some point, even the greatest honeymoon must come to an end. The honeymoon phase of habit formation is usually a result of being inspired by something. For example, you might attend a highly motivational personal development conference, and for the first several days afterward, you are determined to make positive changes in your life.

The Fight Thru Phase

Once the honeymoon phases end, your inspiration will fade, and reality will set in. This is the phase where you might find yourself struggling with completing the positive habit and your old habits are just waiting around the corner for their chance to move back in. The key to successfully getting through this phase is to win two or three “fight thru’s.” To win a fight thru you should use the following techniques.

  • Recognize that you are in the fight thru a phase.
  • Ask questions and bring your emotions into the equation.
  • Imagine how your life will be in five years if you don’t make the necessary changes.

The Second Nature Phase

When you enter the phase of second nature, you start to feel as though you are getting into the groove of things. Once you find yourself in this phase, you’ll need to keep an eye out for the following common interruptions.

  • Discouragement
  • Disruptions
  • Seduction of success

If you end up experiencing one of these interruptions it has the possibility of sending you back to phase two. By winning two or three of the fight thus, you will find yourself back in the second nature phase where you can continue to move forward in forming more positive habits.

Most people think that forming positive habits is a simple as completing a new task consistently for 21 days. Unfortunately, it takes a bit more time than that. Good habits require commitment and hard work. Keep these three phases in mind the next time you want to form a good habit to help you reach a higher level of success.