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How to Change Habits and Your Life for the Better in 21 Days

If you could change one habit today what would it be? We all have many habits that we would like to change however there is usually one habit that can have a major positive or negative impact on our lives. We all know what smoking, lack of exercise and poor eating habits will have a negative impact on our heath. We also know that focusing on the positive things in life, remaining optimistic and not worrying about things that we cant change will have an incredibly positive impact on out happiness, and well-being.

Edythe Kirchmaire recently turned 105 and on her interview on the Ellen DeGeneres show she gave her secret to a long happy and healthy life. It was to think positive and not to worry about things that she could do nothing about. She also had a good marriage and a happy family life and at 105 she is still driving her car.

Why don’t we change these habits? The answer of how to change habits is simple, people really don’t know about the 21 Day 5 “D” Habit Changing methodology

21 days is based on the research that it takes a minimum of 21 days to burn the new behaviour and habit into your brain and to integrate it into your life. What ever the new habit is, you need to commit to practicing it for at least 21 days. Some habits may take longer to form but if you hang in there for 21 days you will be well on your way to forming a new habit for life. Why can’t most people practice the new habit for 21 days? The 5 “D” s explains why we struggle to change our habits and how to change habits:

  • Desire
  • Define
  • Decide
  • Determination
  • Discipline


You need to have the desire to change then you need to clearly define what you will do to change. You need to decide to set a date as to when you will change and you need the discipline and determination to stick with the new behaviour for at lease 21 days.

Of these 5 "D"s which one do you think gets in the way of people successfully changing their habits? I have asked this question to thousands of participants in my workshops over the years and the most common 2 responses by far are that a lack of discipline and or determination is what blocks them from changing their habits. They are wrong and this is why people have trouble changing their habits.

The right answer is Desire and if you picked this one then you are among the 5% of people that get this right. If you do not have a burning desire to change than you will never have the discipline or determination to stick with anything for the time it takes to form a new habit. Without desire nothing else matters. If you have enough desire than almost anything is possible. I have joined several gyms over the years to get in shape and I always selected the 6-12 month option. The problem was that I never made it for more than 5-10 days of exercise before loosing interest. I don't like going to the gym and while I do want to get in shape my desire is not high enough to overcome my dislike of going to the gym. The key was finding things that I liked to do like walking the dogs with my wife, skiing, and golfing, As I get older I realize that exercise is really important if I want to maintain my health so my desire has increased and by doing something that I like to do I have been able to form the new exercise habit and I feel terrific.

Before you set a goal to change a habit make sure that your desire is high enough to make the required efforts. If not, set another goal to change a different habit. There is nothing worse than trying to change something that you are not ready to change. Sometimes we feel the pressure to change from our loved ones but until you want it badly you will not be successful. Everything that you have ever done that you are proud of you can trace it back to a real desire to do it. Everything that you have not done yet is probably the result of a lack of desire.

The other key to successful change is to have a good coach. When it comes to skiing my coach can see me doing things right and wrong that I could never see myself. I played golf badly for many years as I was practicing and reinforcing bad habits every time I swung the club. All it took was a few lessons which taught me what a good swing looked like and my game improved dramatically. When it comes to waking up at 4:44am to walk our dogs my wife and walking mate is my coach. Without her I would never have been able to form the dog walking habit. Now I feel great after these daily walks but getting up in the dark and going out into the cold Montreal winter mornings was not an easy habit to form. A good coach can encourage you and help you to form your new habits.


One of the keys to developing a team of motivated and engaged employees is help them to form the positive habits that will ensure their success. If you would like to bring your team to the next level of performance contact team building expert Paul Fergus at [email protected]. You can also contact him at 1-877-633-9555 to discuss how he and his team can help you to reach your full potential.