How Long Does It Take To Form a Habit

Whether it is a weekday or weekend, I wake up at 7 am. It may seem strange to some, but for me, it is an excellent way to discipline myself. In the future, I plan to get into the habit of waking up even earlier to have more time for myself. How long does it take to form a habit, though?

When looking into the habits of successful people, one thing comes up over and over: they wake up early. As a rule, many such people occupy high positions and know what they want from life. Filipe Castro Matos, a marketing manager from Lisbon, decided to join their ranks. The guy’s goal was to wake up at 4:30 am. According to Dr. Maxwell Maltz, you need 21 days to form a new habit. Let’s see what Filipe learned throughout the course of his experiment!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by FILIPE CASTRO MATOS (@whereispippo)

How Long Does It Take To Form a Habit

Support System

“If you want to change something in your life, it’s always better if you have support along the way,” says Filipe. It often happens that people give up on their goals too early. If you tell your family and friends about your plans and ideas, they will hold you accountable. In the case of Filipe, he opted to share his journey on his Facebook.

© Depositphotos

Friends became interested in what Filipe was doing — they asked questions and supported him. He, in turn, was not afraid to make mistakes and appear weak. Moreover, he started to motivate other people around him, which made him even more excited.

Sense of Purpose

If you tell people that you want to wake up at 4:30 am every morning, they may not get why you feel the need to put yourself through such an ordeal. The best thing for you is to approach your decision with your eyes and mind open. Simply getting up early may not be enough; you may need to go to bed earlier and monitor your diet. Strangers will probably start asking a lot of questions upon hearing about your eccentric habit. You may need to learn to be patient and answer their questions as thoughtfully as possible.

Everything Is Interconnected

“When do you sleep?” — asked Filipe’s friends and acquaintances. He carefully thought things out. Changing the time when he wakes up means also changing the time he goes to bed. If you only shorten your sleep time and get up earlier, you probably won’t be very productive during the day.

© Depositphotos

As a result, our story’s hero began to go to bed at 9:30 or 10 pm. He needed 6–7 hours for quality sleep. Moreover, in the 21 days Filipe worked on forming his new habit, he never once complained about a bad dream.


To achieve your goal, you need to get rid of all obstacles in your path. People often claim that something is impossible for them, and though it may be true for some, more often than not, they just don’t want to go the extra mile. Put in more effort, come up with a detailed plan, write it down, and act.

© Depositphotos


“I fall asleep really fast (5 min on average), I sleep well (rarely wake up during the night) and anywhere if needed, and I have no problems waking up (when the alarm rings, I get out of bed instantly),” noted Filipe. He says that it is all due to his lifestyle. He eats well and does sports, and his life is fairly stress-free. In his opinion, all changes begin with little steps.

Forget Snooze

Like many, I am guilty of hitting that snooze button. First, you snooze for 10 minutes, then another 10, and then half an hour has gone by. It’s pretty pointless, really — you sleep poorly anyway, and then you feel tired and overwhelmed throughout the day.

© Depositphotos

Quality Sleep

Some people need 8 hours of sleep, while for others, 6–7 hours is enough. Everything is individual, and it is vital to listen to your body and figure out your daily sleep-wake cycle. There is a big difference between getting enough sleep and oversleeping. Unfortunately, in the second instance, you are unlikely to spend the day productively.


By waking up earlier, you free up some time for yourself either in the morning or in the evening, depending on your schedule. You can spend it on your favorite activities and leisure. For example, why not hang out with your friends or sit down to read a new book? And all this without haste and unnecessary worries.

No Distractions

Few people wake up this early. Therefore, in the morning, no one will distract you from important matters or work. Besides, your phone is unlikely to beep every few minutes with new messages and notifications. In general, it is a pretty quiet and peaceful time.

© Depositphotos

New Challenges

Since Filipe started his workday earlier, he decided that he has the time for more workouts per week. If before it was 3 times after work, then now it is 4–5 times. Moreover, he began to go to the gym early in the morning after two hours spent at work. He enjoyed morning workout sessions more because he wasn’t as tired.


Getting up early opened Filipe’s eyes to many things. He began to notice things that he had never paid attention to before. Why not start your morning with a jog at dawn?

© Depositphotos

Filipe Castro Matos admits that his experiment is not for everyone. It all depends on your job, environment, responsibilities, family, and children. Extenuating circumstances are superimposed on one another. Therefore, it is not surprising that habit formation can take much longer than 21 days.

If you train your willpower and want to achieve something, you will definitely succeed! Would you consider challenging yourself to wake up at 4:30 am? How long do you think it will take you to form such a habit? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


I am an English major with a love of languages and fiction, and with an incurable travel bug. In my free time, I read fantasy, drink copious amounts of coffee, and like to go see movies. Culinary art means everything to me. My main hypostasis is the taster, though. The music school has taught me to appreciate the symphony of airy meringues, to create harmonious overtures of light snacks, hard rock of meat, fish, and vegetables on the grill. Choir classes have accustomed me to hear and feel the people nearby and create perfect harmonies of sounds.