When you set out to change your life, you will inevitably set goals for yourself. But sticking to goals requires willpower, and willpower is a finite resource. You may keep it up for weeks or even months, but at some point the pressures of life will win out. And when they do, chances are you’ll end up back where you started.
The way to make lasting changes is to build new habits. Once something is a habit, it no longer requires willpower to keep up. In fact, your brain will actively make you feel uncomfortable whenever you skip a habit. When you were a kid, you probably hated brushing your teeth and your parents had to push you every night. Now that it’s become a daily habit, you feel off if you skip it even once.
But be warned: building habits takes time. Research suggests that building a new habit may take as long as six months. And getting to toothbrushing level takes even longer. So prepare yourself and don’t take this too lightly. To increase your chance of success, choose habits you can easily keep up and find something to enjoy in every new habit.