THE DECISION to give something up is not taken once. It’s taken a thousand times, every minute of the day, or every time that thing comes up, until the new habit is established. So when we fail to keep a resolution, it’s not so much that we make a decision and then go back on our decision, but more that we make the decision only once and then not again – and again and again.

Take cricket, when the bowler tempts the batsman to play a risky shot by bowling just outside the line. If the batsman’s not going to play, he has to make the same decision every ball. As soon as he stops making the same decision, he plays the risky shot, makes the mistake, and goes out.

If I decide not to get angry in a certain situation, I have to make that decision again and again while the situation lasts, otherwise I’ll simply lose it. To do this requires constant presence, awareness, combined with a strong desire for the benefits of the new behaviour.