January 4, 2008

A habit can be formed, good or bad in 21 days. Three full weeks is relatively short, given the average life span, and yet sometimes feels like an eternity — especially when it comes to changing behaviors. Three weeks is just long enough to either be a mental barrier to success, or a pain to endure, fostering a resentment that leads to failure. Instead of trying to make changes for three weeks, there is an alternate approach I have developed — the “two week test.”

The Two Week Test
The two week test is when a change is tried for two weeks. While only a week shorter on the calendar, two weeks carries a completely different perspective and scale; two weeks is simply “this week and next week.” Asking someone to try something for “this week and next” is both less threatening and easily visualized into the mental calendar most people keep. While a two-week change might not be enough to develop a habit, it is long enough to get results. If two weeks bring about positive results, the resulting boost to motivation carries the change through until it becomes a habit. If it turns out to be a dud, then it can be stopped without a sense of dread and time wasted.

Whether attempting a change in ourselves or working to change the way people protect information – what could you accomplish in two weeks?

About the Author Michael Santarcangelo

The founder of Security Catalyst, Michael develops exceptional leaders and powerful communicators with the security mindset for success.

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