A study investigating the process of habit formation in everyday life. 96 volunteers (participants) chose an eating, drinking or activity behaviour to carry out daily in the same context (for example ‘after breakfast’) for 12 weeks. They completed the self-report habit index (SRHI) each day and recorded whether they carried out the behaviour. The majority (82) of participants provided sufficient data for analysis. A nonlinear regression which fitted an asymptotic curve to each individual’s automaticity scores over the 84 days. The model fitted for 62 participants, of whom 39 showed a good fit. Performing the behaviour more consistently was associated with better model fit. The time it took participants to reach 95% of their asymptote of automaticity ranged from 18 to 254 days; indicating considerable variation in how long it takes people to reach their limit of automaticity and highlighting that it can take a very long time.
Link to research paper: How Habits are Formed