If you’re trying to help yourself (or those you serve), the most effective thing you can do is create long-term habits. They become unseen foundations of who we will become.
The goal of running a marathon in six weeks is audacious, but it’s not a habit. You might succeed, but with all that pressure, it’s more likely you’ll simply abandon the project.
On the other hand, the goal of running to the mailbox (at least) and back for 50 days in a row is the sort of habit that might stick.
The same goes for education (“we do flashcards every day” is very different from “I need to cram to learn quantum mechanics for the test.”)
And it goes double for our lifestyles. If you can replace a bad habit with a good one, you’ll live with the benefits for decades.
The challenge is to set up systems that are likely to create habits, not sprints that lead to failure.