The Fibonacci Number Series and Habit Creation & Breaking

The Fibonacci Number Series and Habit Creation & Breaking

The Fibonacci number sequence turns up again and again in nature, art, architecture, even the financial markets.

It seems to underlie almost every facet of the way our physical reality is constructed.

Could it apply also to human behavior patterns? I think it can, and in this article, I'll explain some of my findings.

More...

What is the sequence?

The FIbonacci series consists of the numbers...

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144...and so on

The next number in the series is always found by adding together the previous two numbers.

For a quick crash course in what the sequence is about, you could watch this video...


Fibonacci and habit creation

I noticed that most psychologists seem to be in agreement that it takes 21 days to set up a new habit...21 is a Fibonacci number.

Other people say it takes about a month to set up a new habit...34 is a Fibonacci number.

Abraham say it takes 3 days to escape the grip of an addiction and then it becomes a lot easier to deal with...3 is a Fibonacci number.

I've been working with the assumption that at each Fibonacci number (in days), the setting-up or the tearing-down of a habit becomes easier.

For example, let's say you want to set up the habit of cycling everyday.

  • Day 1 will be difficult
  • Day 2 will be difficult, but maybe slightly less so.
  • Day 3 will be difficult, but slightly less so than day 2.
  • Now there's a breakthrough and you will now coast a bit to day 5
  • If you can make to day 8, it becomes even easier
  • Now you've got another week to day 13 before it becomes even easier
  • By day 21, you've almost got a new habit
  • If you can make it to day 34, I suspect it's a habit for life

...and so on.

Does it work?

Well, to take the cycling example, I started cycling nearly 15 miles a day (on a mountain bike, not a road bike) without even thinking about it. I started several months previously from cycling rarely and then began applying this method.

FIBONACCI AND HABIT BREAKING

The same principle applies to breaking bad habits, from my experiences.

So for any bad habit you want to break...

  • Day 1 will be difficult to stop doing it
  • Day 2 will be difficult to stop doing it, but maybe slightly less so.
  • Day 3 will be difficult to stop doing it, but slightly less so than day 2.
  • Now there's a breakthrough and you will now coast a bit to day 5
  • If you can make to day 8, it becomes even easier not to do it
  • Now you've got another week to day 13 before it becomes even easier
  • By day 21, you've almost broken it completely
  • If you can make it to day 34, I suspect it's gone for life

So, based upon this, if you want to break a bad habit fast, set yourself the goal of not doing it for just three days.

And then you should find it becomes alot easier to continue not to do it.



Photo by brewbooks



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