Make a Change that Lasts

Turning over a new leaf in life can feel daunting, if not impossible.

Illustration by Brett King

Making meaningful changes to create a life more aligned with who you want to be isn’t that hard: To be more fit, you can exercise; to be a better writer, you can write more; to be more mindful, you can practice mindfulness. We know making these kinds of changes is good for us and even feels good. But making them stick? Well, that’s another story.

To make lasting change, we need more than desire and willpower. It requires an understanding that our brains are wired to create obstacles that hinder us from making healthy changes, and that, thanks to technology, it’s harder than ever to maintain focus. Maybe most importantly, we need to understand that we are not islands, and that our social and physical environments can make the difference between ongoing motivation and incessant procrastination. Once you understand these obstacles, you can begin to take simple steps to organize your life in a way that inspires the sustainable changes you want to make.

Here are the biggest threats to our well-intended efforts to change, and how to counter them mindfully.

Negativity rules

From the dawn of our species, the human brain has been on the lookout for danger. Why?…

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