The following article was originally published by Inside Science.This video (below) is for anyone who has made a New Year\u2019s resolution \u2014 and broken it.We always want to keep our resolutions \u2014 and it feels like the more motivated we are to keep it, the more successful we\u2019ll be. But that\u2019s not true.The science says that the resolutions that actually work are those that are easily turned into habits.I\u2019ve never been able to keep a resolution longer than a week. So I tested this idea by trying to keep a resolution for a month, just using habit.Now, I hate getting up in the morning \u2014 so I tried getting up early and meditating for five minutes every morning before I started my day. To understand why this method works, we have to understand habits. So what really are they? They\u2019re actions that are automatically triggered by a certain context. Like, getting up in the morning triggers getting a shower.If we repeat the same simple action in the same environment, we can train ourselves into habits.And the thing about habits is \u2014 they persist even after our initial motivation dissolves.Forming habits is about mentally programming sequences of actions into your brain. That happens in a region hidden under the folds of the cerebral cortex, in a subcortical region called the basal ganglia.When we first perform an action, many basal ganglia neurons fire during the complex parts of the movement.But as the habit forms, activity decreases during the complex sections as our neurons become more efficient at coding for the behavior.As this happens, more neurons start firing at the very beginning and very end of the action sequence. So once our new habit is formed, the basal ganglia stops sequencing the action and acts instead like a trigger \u2014 setting off a habit when we enter a certain context. This is automatic; we no longer need motivation.By the end of the month, I was up early to meditate without even thinking about it \u2013 and that\u2019s exactly the point: The action became automatic, a habit!Early on, motivation will help the formation of habits \u2014 so give yourself some rewards at the start. They could be personal, social or edible. The brain\u2019s reward signal is dopamine \u2014 and decreasing dopamine makes making habits harder \u2014 so don\u2019t make life tougher than it needs to be!And don\u2019t forget: Missing a day doesn\u2019t significantly stall habit formation, but the more complicated the habit, the longer it takes to form \u2014 so go easy on yourself.