Internet Self Improvement

Can You Break Or Start A Habit In Only 21 Days?

Bakari Chavanu 11-01-2012

break a habit in 21 daysThe beginning of the year is always a good time to set new resolutions and break old habits, to make this year better than the last. I’ve recently wrote about a couple of good websites for goal setting List It And Achieve It With Though New Year's resolutions and goals could easily be typed and printed out on a sheet of paper, offers more useful features than pen and paper, and it provides a simple method for managing... Read More and monitoring New Year resolutions How To Set & Accomplish Your New Year Resolutions For 2012 We all know that making New Year's resolutions is a useful way of getting things done and achieving particular goals; however, setting them is easier than actually doing them. Typically by March what we resolve... Read More . But a few Amazon and Microsoft engineers and developers teamed up to develop another web application designed to help break old habits or create new ones.


Their recently released a site is called, which is simple to use, but includes a little incentive that might make you stick to your goal.

How It Works

If you’re going to break a habit, it typically needs to be done in a reasonably short amount of time. The longer you take to break (or gain) the habit, the less likely you are to achieve your goal. With 21habit, you simply write the habit you want to break (or begin) and check in daily to the site to indicate whether you met your goal for that day. When you click the start button, you can register on the site or use your Facebook account to log in.

break a habit in 21 days

Most of us have at least one bad habit we would like to break but never get around to doing it. A bad habit might include nail biting, smoking, spending too much time on the computer or Facebook, procrastinating, spending too much money, gambling, watching too much television, not eating the right foods, etc. You might also want to start an habit, such reading a book on a daily basis, or going to bed at a certain time each night.

start a habit


As with any goal, make sure your habit is something that you control, and is one that you can work toward each day.

Daily Monitoring

When you set a habit to break, 21habit will send an email each day for 21 days (or you can check into your account) to verify if you failed or succeeded in doing what you said you would do.

start a habit

So if your habit is to quit smoking, this method works great, because most likely smoking is something you do everyday. But if your goal is to say stay away from your computer at least one day per week, 21habit might not the best way to monitor that goal on a daily basis, because for at least 6 days of the week you will be on your computer.


Committed vs. Free Mode

21habit includes an incentive, “Committed”, feature for breaking your stated habit. It requires you to invest $21 (using PayPal or credit card) that will be donated to one of five charities – American Red Cross, Amnesty International, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and United Way.

start a habit

Each day that you fail your habit, $1 of your invested $21 goes to a charity. Personally I think I would be more motivated to have my $1 go to a charity each time I succeed in breaking my habit or reaching my goal. I think users should get the option for how they want their investment to be used.

break a habit in 21 days


21habit says that, “You have 3 days to check-in for a specific day. If, after 3 days, you haven’t checked-in then you will forfeit $1 for that day, and we’ll donate that $1 to charity.” You can end a habit or withdraw invested funds at any time, so basically this commitment is based on the honor code.

You can also use the Free Mode, which requires no investment.

Send Them Feedback

So far, 21habit has received a lot of positive feedback on Facebook and Twitter. The system is simple and easy to ease, and the charity donation feature may be a good motivation for many users. However, there are probably many other features that users will probably want to see made to 21habit.

First off, this online service would make for a great mobile phone app whereby you could check-in and verify your progress with a simple one or two taps. Also, 21habits only allows you to only do one habit at time, pledge only $21 at time, and commit to no more or no less than 21 days per goal. However, the site is requesting your feedback on these limitations. Click to their FAQ page to give email feedback on these issues.


Let us know what you think of Is it a site that you might use to help with one of your New Year resolutions?

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Opodo Fluege Billige Fluege Billigflieger
    March 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm

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  2. Bobel
    January 11, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    One way to make it even more effective would be to have $1 donated to a cause you despise every day that you fail.  For example a die-hard libertarian could lose a dollar to the Democratic Socialists of America.  This has proved successful in addiction treatment.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 15, 2012 at 2:33 am

      Lol, seriously true. I know that would work for me, though I'm a die hard democratic socialist. 

  3. Joel Lee
    January 11, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    This is an awesome idea for a website.

    Ever since I started being a writer, I've been a proponent of the whole "habits take 21 days to make or break" theory. So far, it's held true in my life; this website will just make it easier for me to track my progress and see results!

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 15, 2012 at 2:31 am

      Thanks for sharing that.