Thank you for the comment, Aranaman. There’s a lot to think about here.
What you said about that battle in your head constantly pulling you back and forth in your efforts to change your habits is so true. I think that’s the biggest challenge we need to overcome: Our inner critic (or the “lizard brain” as many are starting to refer to it) will always try to resist change because change is usually more dangerous than doing nothing.
But like you said, the decision to change has to come from within us — it needs to be more than a passive thought or a simple reaction to information (e.g., smoking will kill you). If you don’t care enough, you’re not going to put in the effort needed to make big changes and change deeply ingrained habits.
One thing that always helps for me is to think about things in the scale of my lifetime, instead of months or years. When I want to change a habit, whatever it may be, I don’t think about changing it temporarily. Instead, I think about changing it for the remainder of my life.
For example, when I stopped drinking soda, it became a mission to never drink soda again for the rest of my life. That made it really easy to stay away from it because I had already accepted inside that I will never have it, at any point in the future, so any urge to drink it disappeared. If my brain knows that “waiting it out” or “getting through the temporary discomfort of resisting the urge” will never result in getting what I desire, then it gives up and I don’t feel myself struggling repeatedly to stick with the new habit.