It is well known that recent studies suggest that a three week period is critical for retention.

Three weeks appears to the minimal time frame needed to install a new habit or not let it slip away from awareness.

Did you ever hear this before?

The evidence behind it is that three weeks of consistent practice is sufficient time to lay down the new neuromuscular grooves. This is poignant given what movements we ask of ourselves during gardening season

I have liked to call it a ‘21 day experiment\’. This is what I use with new clients that come into our movement studio and are looking to make changes in the ways that they move.

If you do not reinforce or recreate the desired behavior within a 15-21 day period, the learning almost disappears.

You see, that neuromuscular groove is a real thing.

Think about like this. Have you ever used a new tool, or adopted a new system of doing things?

Let\’s use the new tool as an example. Maybe you slip right into comfort with it because it\’s exactly what you have been looking for…but let\’s suppose it is new to you. When you take it into your hands and begin to allow your hands to feel it, understand the uses of it, how it best serves you there is a bit of perhaps unease. You know that the tool can be helpful, yet there is an awkward feeling. I remember this feeling a few years ago when I first used a reciprocating saw for a split rail fence we were building. That saw was so awkward, my hands and arms did not know how to hold it let alone staying grounded myself and holding strong. And then I observed those gradual changes every time I picked that tool up again my brain and body said…‘ahh, yes, it is like this‘ and my work became smoother as I became more comfortable using that tool.

It is not only your physical body that needs to adapt it is that relationship of your muscles communicating how to do it, the feel of it, and the response to it; thus creating a new neuromuscular groove. The above Image are those integrating nerves inside our bodies.

This truly applies to anything that we learn and thus repeat over and over.

Take the opposite end of this learning curve. Those things you do on automatic pilot…you don\’t even think about doing them. Many times you don\’t even pay attention. Yes, it becomes habit; yet, you also become unconscious of what you are doing…not necessarily a good thing!

So, remember the 21 day experiment when learning anything that is new to you. Those 21 days are just the beginning, really.

Oftentimes, it can be a fascinating learn to actually observe yourself…learning, and remembering where you started in that process.

Small chunks of time to learn anew and practice the old!

Lisa Byrne Certified Pilates Instructor

Lisa Byrne is the owner and chief creative officer at Pilates for Sport, LLC in Bucks County, Pa. She has her B.S in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Pilates Instructor. Lisa has operated her fully equipped Pilates studio since 1999 and has been in the Health and Fitness Industry for 23 years. The studio space is home to private sessions, small group training, and the outdoor circuit buffet, sure to get anyone grooving. Visitors to the movement studio span the range and include average Boomers looking for diversity; young people with Asperger's-Autism; hard core athletes looking to ‘loosen up'; and those in need of chronic pain management through movement.