Success is actually a short race — a sprint fueled by discipline just long enough for habit to kick in and take over.
Habits are like magical powers. The moment they kick in, you no longer need more than perhaps
a modicum of self-discipline every now and then to continue performing the same action on a regular
basis. What originally was extremely difficult to do is now something you largely do automatically,
with little thought or willpower.
When something becomes a part of your routine, resistance drops to nearly zero. The challenging
part is forming a new habit. Research suggests that it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days
to form a new habit, with 66 days being the average time (not 21 days, as the common knowledge goes).
When working on your goals, remind yourself that it’s the first months that will be the hardest.
Once the proper habits kick in, things will get easier.
Remember that in the long term, only habits — and their subsequent permanent changes in
lifestyle and identity— can ensure lasting success. Consequently, it’s key to think in terms of lifelong routines .
As long as you’re jumping from one two-week diet to another instead of establishing new
nutritional habits, you’re destined to regain weight.As long as you’re switching between different six-week workout programs to lose some weight — and not thinking of exercise as a permanent part of your weekly routine — sooner or later, you’ll revert to inactivity.
Analyze your goals and assess whether your plans employ self-discipline to help you build a habit or if you’re using self-control as a means of temporarily sustaining an impermanent change.