The Biggest Lie About Building Habits

daily routine lifelong process meditative practices personal journey self-imposed deadline subconscious belief Jun 16, 2024
With Clarity & Purpose | Building Habits


This is the biggest lie about building habits: that you can do it in just 21 days. Yanet Borrego is here to dispel this huge misconception once and for all. In this episode, she shares practical tips for cultivating positive habits for the long-term that will profoundly impact your life for the better.

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The Biggest Lie About Building Habits

This is the biggest lie about building habits, that you build a habit in 21 days. I’ve read different books. Different books have 66 days or 90 days. They all have these days where you are supposed to subconsciously program that habit into you. Let me be honest. It doesn’t work. How do I know this? I’m going to ask you a question. Have you ever broken a habit after 21 days, 66 days, or 90 days? I know I have. I love what my uncle told me when he was alive. He always told me, “Do not trust what anyone tells you. Trust your own experience. Listen to people and experiment with what they say, but, at the end of the day, you are the one that knows if that works or not.”

21 days is something that’s not true. The damaging part of this mindset is that it creates an outcome-focused goal. By creating a habit in 21 days, it means that whenever you get to those 21 days, you are done and you are not supposed to do anything else. Even though that’s not the intent, that’s how people understand it naturally. That’s how I have understood it in the past, and then I had this big realization in 2023.

What’s important about building habits is that it’s not an outcome. It’s a journey. It’s a process. It’s so important when we are building habits to transition from this outcome-focused mindset to process-focused. It doesn’t matter how many times you have practiced a habit. It always goes back to a daily decision to still do it or a daily decision to still show up.


Building habits is not an outcome. It is a journey and a process.


Habit Of Meditating

I know it may be overwhelming to say, “It’s a lifelong process.” For me, it’s not overwhelming, but I know for some people, it’s like, “What are you telling me, that I need to do this for a lifetime? It’s so much.” How I like to think about it is it’s more like a day-to-day process. Maybe a habit you’re building is meditating, which I highly recommend. I meditate every day. I’m not perfect. Some days, I don’t, but I get back on track when I fall off track. If you’re cultivating a habit of meditating, the first thing is to make a daily decision to do it. I wake up in the morning and the first decision I make is, “I’m going to meditate.” I am meditating on abundance, so in a lot of the things I’m doing, the theme is abundance.

For my vision board, I do one every year, and I always come up with a theme for that year. My theme for this year 2024 is open heart and abundance. Something that I’ve been practicing a lot in 2024 is keeping an open heart because that’s where all creation and all love come from. The heart is your creative center. I’ve also been practicing keeping an abundance mindset. When you open your heart, you realize that there is no scarcity. It’s all abundance. Meditation helps with that.

If you are building a habit of meditating, for example, you wake up every day. You make sure you have in your calendar a reminder of something. You have to have a system that reminds you of that habit. You make a decision today to meditate. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow when you wake up, you make the decision again to meditate. You do that every single day.

Going Off-Track

Life is not perfect. Things may show up that you didn’t know were going to show up that morning. If you fall off track, the important part is that you get back on. Building a habit is not about an outcome. The outcome comes, and that’s amazing and you feel great, but the most important piece of information to focus on is the journey or the actual process that you are implementing. Once you focus on the process, that is a skill that you are building for a lifetime rather than an outcome that you check that outcome, and then you’re moving on. It doesn’t work that way when it comes to habits.

The mindset that we are cultivating here is one of resilience. You get back off track because you will. I always say getting back off track when it comes to mindsets, behaviors, and habits means that you are on track. Whenever you’re implementing something new in your life, you are becoming a new person. You’re becoming a new identity of yourself. It’s normal because there is so much uncertainty in the process. You’re trying to create a new pattern in your life. It’s normal that you’re not used to it. You’re going to fall off track.

When you fall off track, the important piece of information here is that you don’t stay off track. You get back on track. I’ve been meditating since 2012. Do I still fall off track? Yes, I do. There was one day that I didn’t meditate. I practiced self-compassion. I didn’t do it. I always ask myself, “Is there a lesson I need to learn? Is there something I can implement tomorrow to make sure it happens?” I gather that lesson, implement it, and then show up tomorrow with more wisdom and more commitment. I get back on track. Maybe a month from now, I will fall off track again because life happens. Whenever that happens, I get back on track. If you get off track, you get back on track. We have described the process of life.

Not An Outcome

The biggest light to habit building is the one that is an outcome. It’s not an outcome. 21 days help when you are using that to practice and have a milestone, which is super helpful. You’re like, “For 21 days, I’m going to practice this.” The important mindset to have is that it doesn’t end there. If you think it ends there, that’s when the habit-building doesn’t work.

You practice for 21 days and you’re like, “Let’s see how I feel.” You then practice 21 more days, 30 more days, or 45 more days. It doesn’t matter. You can use it as a milestone to measure progress. It’s damaging to think of habit-building as an outcome instead of a process. The whole purpose of habit-building is it is a process.

Sometimes, when we fall off track, we are so hard on ourselves. We start building this subconscious belief that we are not capable or that we can’t do it or we can’t make it like other people have. I say that the 21 days are damaging because it really affects our confidence and belief in ourselves if we don’t make it after the 21 days. With this shift of mindset from outcome to process and also knowing that it’s okay for you to fall off track, give yourself permission, and predict that you’re going to fall off track because it’s totally normal, for you, that can be super powerful when it comes to building new habits. Even happiness is a habit. It’s something that you practice every single day.


Closing Words

For you, my question is where have you fallen off track? Where have you not given yourself self-compassion to get back on track and try it one more time? I hope this episode was super helpful. Please, if you found it inspiring and empowering, share it with your friends and family. I really appreciate all your support. I’ll see you next time.


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