Go to Navigation Go to Content

Happy New Year! Let’s take a scientific look at what it will take this year to achieve those New Year Resolutions. Most importantly, what it will take to make some changes which we can have fun with and enjoy throughout the year and years to come!

Research reveals a curved relationship between practice and automaticity. Say you want to create a new habit, whether it’s increasing your exercise, eating healthy or reading an inspirational/educational book every evening. How often does it need to be performed before it no longer requires tooth grinding/jaw clenching self-control?

Clearly it's going to depend on the type of habit you're trying to form and how single-minded you are in pursuing your goal. But are there any general guidelines for how long it takes before behaviors become automatic?

Ask Google and you'll get a figure of somewhere between 21 and 28 days. In fact, there’s no solid evidence for this number at all. The 21 day myth may well come from a book published in 1960 by a plastic surgeon. Dr Maxwell Maltz noticed that amputees took, on average, 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb and he argued that people take 21 days to adjust to any major life changes.

Unless you're in the habit of sawing off your own arm, this is not particularly relevant.

Doing without thinking
Now, however, there is some psychological research on this question in a paper recently published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. Phillippa Lally and colleagues from University College London recruited 96 people who were interested in forming a new habit such as eating a piece of fruit with lunch or doing a 15 minute run each day (Lally et al., 2009). Participants were then asked daily how automatic their chosen behaviors felt. These questions included things like whether the behavior was 'hard not to do' and could be done 'without thinking.'

When the researchers examined the different habits, many of the participants showed a curved relationship between practice and automaticity of the form depicted below (solid line). On average a plateau in automaticity was reached after 66 days. In other words it had become as much of a habit as it was ever going to become.

This graph shows that early practice was rewarded with greater increases in automaticity and gains tailed off as participants reached their maximum automaticity for that behavior.

Although the average was 66 days, there was marked variation in how long habits took to form, anywhere from 18 days up to 254 days in the habits examined in this study. As you'd imagine, drinking a daily glass of water became automatic very quickly but doing 50 situps before breakfast required more dedication (above, dotted lines). The researchers also noted that:

  • Missing a single day did not reduce the chance of forming a habit.
  • A sub-group took much longer than the others to form their habits, perhaps suggesting some people are "habit-resistant."
  • Other types of habits may well take much longer.

No small change
What this study reveals is that when we want to develop a relatively simple habit like eating a piece of fruit each day or taking a 10 minute walk, it could take us over two months of daily repetitions before the behavior becomes a habit. And, while this research suggests that skipping single days isn't detrimental in the longterm, it's those early repetitions that give us the greatest boost in automaticity.

So, let’s get out there and dream a little bit. Let’s create a future that sounds fun and inspiring (e.g., dropping two pant or dress sizes, staying consistent with a stress relieving martial arts class with friends 3 times per week, training to Black Belt). Let’s find friends, coaches, family, and classmates that will support us and hold us accountable to our commitments and dreams. Let’s enjoy the momentum we achieve from our first 60 days to persevere with ease and accomplish our 2013 Goals and New Year Resolutions!

Elite MMA's January 2013 growth: Baytown's Expansion & Kingwood Opening

We are pleased to announce Elite MMA Baytown now offers Kardio Kickboxing! It has been a long and arduous process and it is still incomplete but we are super excited that our location is adding a new program. We at Elite MMA love the martial arts and have a passion to expand our knowledge not only physically but mentally.

Our new facility is a work-in-progress and we are still waiting to get our bags put up but that has not stopped our students from enjoying a new, challenging, high energy, and motivating workout. More to come as the progress will be complete within the month. We invite everyone to come in and see the Elite Kickboxing program at Elite MMA—Baytown!

We are happy to share that Elite MMA Kingwood is now officially located at 2259 Northpark Dr. in Kingwood, TX. We are now in build out mode, preparing the space for our first classes which we anticipate to be the first week of February. This week we received our new Dollamur mats and ordered our heavy bags for the kickboxing classes. We are now registering students, so if you know anyone in the Humble/Kingwood area please let them know what you have gotten out of being at Elite MMA. We would love to be of service to your friends or family.

We will have a temporary office at the location while the construction crew is working. Please keep up to date with the latest developments in Kingwood by visiting us on Facebook. We are excited to be a part of the new Kingwood location, and look forward to expanding the Elite family.

Respect Badge Recipients

Finished 1st Booklet
Troy M.,

Finished 2nd Booklet
Ben C., Victoria C., Caden C., David D., Finn E., Iman Q., Eisa Q.,

Finished 3rd Booklet
Zach E., Anthony L.,

I feel good helping out around the house and at school, my mom has noticed my behavior.

Makes me feel good to do good things.

This notebook is really fun to fill out.

It is a good thing to do things for nice people.

This was hard but fun.

Welcome New & Returning Students

Monica S Ingrid A., Bakyt I., Owen W., David D., Cinthia D., Dave H., Dave M., Nick L., Sergio A., Miguel G., Daniel T., Richard W., Milton M., Shaft “Lee” D., LaTonya B., Lorenzo D., Ramon S., Luke H., Joshua, Michael P., Jack B., Dazzle “DZ” H., Greg R., Minh N., John B., Brittany W., Joshua S., Josh E., Joshua C., Giovani “Gio” F., Jee L., Ebony A., Clay K., James “Dillion” M., Hannah “Sami” K.

Thank you for the referrals!
John K., Erica G., Robert J., Keven, Lucho S., Dave C., Manny L., Mitch N.

Congratulations to everyone who was promoted at our recent belt test on December 8, 2012!

Congratulations to all adults who were promoted at our recent belt tests

Success Story

What are your name, age, and profession?
Emmanuel Silva, 30, Drafter

When did you join Elite MMA?
May 2008

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts?
To lose weight and for self defense

In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?
Was not committed enough to show up

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?
Yes, initially Kickboxing Fundamentals, then I took MMA Fundamentals

If you had any concerns about join Elite MMA, what helped with your decision?
I knew John Alfeche from school and he recommended the school to me. Also, getting out of my comfort zone and making a commitment to my health.

Since you have been part of Elite MMA, please share what you have been able to accomplish?
I have been able to keep the weight I lost off, gain more confidence in myself and my abilities and establish friendships with an amazing group of people.

Anything else you would like to share with someone who is looking to get involved with taking martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle when it comes to their health?
This seems intimidating at first, but if you are willing to invest yourself the result is worth it.

Diet Success List

One Day at a Time
Are you starting each day by focusing on breakfast? Make sure the first meal you eat is a healthy one. Many diets have met their untimely end due to a poor breakfast, which turned into a poor lunch, which turned into a poor dinner, which turned into a poor week… You probably get the picture. If you did have a day that included some slip-ups, breakfast is the perfect time to get back on track. Just start over with a healthy meal. Don't think about the cookie you had at lunch yesterday or even the office party you have to go to tomorrow. Concentrate on today and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

Two People to Support You
Don't isolate yourself. Do you have two people who can be supportive and help you make sound decisions? Use the resources you have to tell what you might think are the silliest stories: How you passed up some potato chips during lunch, that you had a perfect meal plan day, or that you weighed in and lost two pounds.

Three Goals and Three Rewards
Create a goal system for yourself and write it down (if you haven't already). Short Term Goal - Figure out where you want to be in two weeks and write down a non-edible reward (a new CD, a movie, whatever…) If you reach your goal, make sure to give yourself the reward. If you don't reach your goal, and it may happen, look at the progress you made and set another goal. Medium range - Decide where you want to be in 2 months and make the reward just a bit larger. (New walking shoes, a day at the salon, a new pair of pants.) Long term - Figure out what your goal weight is and when you think you can reach it. Set up a vacation for that date or find another way to celebrate your achievement. Give yourself a little leeway here. Don't cancel a trip if you are 3 pounds off. The point is to look forward to something in the future.

Four Pieces of Fruit
Have you been skipping that banana at breakfast and just eating the two muffins, or just having cereal and milk? The fruits will help fill you up and reduce your cravings. Fruits are especially important when just starting out.

Five (or more) Servings of Vegetables
Eating all your vegetables can be especially challenging. Vegetables can be harder to get all of your servings than fruit. Generally speaking, they take more time to prepare, and we only think of them as dinner foods. One of the best ways to ensure you get all your vegetable servings is to plan ahead. Stock up on frozen and canned veggies, in case you forget to buy fresh ones. When preparing your meal, fix the vegetables first. That way there will be no temptation to just eat your entrée and leave the veggies in the fridge/

Eat Six Times A Day
Oddly enough, one of the keys to losing weight is eating often. You should be eating six times a day. That's three small meals and a snack after each meal. The faster you can get into this eating habit the better. This will keep you from becoming hungry late at night, when you may be tired and not have as much will power.

Seven Days of Exercise
If you haven't been exercising this may sound difficult. Visions of endless jogging and hours spent in the gym. Start slow and start with what is right for you. Walking every day is a simple way to begin. Even if it is just for 10 minutes, get yourself in the habit of getting up and moving. Walk during your lunch hour or visit a co-worker instead of calling. If you can, adding a couple days of free weights will help you build muscle and ultimately keep your metabolism running at a higher level.

Eight Glasses of Water a Day
It is hard to believe this can actually help you lose weight. It makes sense that eating well should help, but how does adding water help. Your body needs lots and lots of water. More than most people give it. Water keeps the body in balance. Besides, sometimes we can mistake thirst for hunger, leading to a snack instead of trusty old H2O.

Nine Different Activities in Your Workout
Don't let yourself get bored doing the same exercises repeatedly. Half an hour worth of situps or walking the same route every day can be boring, even for the most motivated exerciser. By trying different things, you will actually be working your muscles in a more productive manner. Our bodies become accustomed to exercises we do all the time and start becoming more efficient and burning fewer calories while performing them.

Ten Minutes of Journal Time a Day
Take time to reflect and write down some of the frustrations you may be having. Being aware of how you feel mentally can help you feel better physically. Your journal doesn't have to just be what you ate and how far you walked. How is dieting making you feel? Frustrated, confident, grumpy, or proud. All of these may cross your mind at one point or another. Writing them down may be a good way to cross them out of your mind.

How To Defend The Punch

1. With both hands in a straight line to protect your face, use your words to tell the attacker “I don’t want to fight!”

2. As the attacker throws a looping punch, umbrella both hands to the at-tacker’s biceps to block the punches.

3. With one arm hook under the attacker’s armpit while hugging their other arm to your body and step-ping both feet inside their feet and turning away.

4. Squat down to lower your hips below the attacker’s hips.

5. Begin to turn your body away from the attacker and straighten your legs while pulling on the arm.

6. Complete the turn to throw the attacker onto their back.

7. Squat down as the attacker lands on the floor.

8. If necessary, defend yourself further to avoid any physi-]cal harm to yourself.

Not Sure Which Class To Try?
click here to reach out to an instructor!