The more we persevere and sticks to life goals, the lower our risk of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression in the decades that follow, a new study suggests.

In the study, which was published recently in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, researchers focused on three things in particular: goal persistence, self-mastery, and positive reappraisal, according to Forbes. They looked at data from just under 3,300 participants over three time points, 1995 to 1996, 2004 to 2005 and 2012 to 2013, and they tracked also the participants’ mental health over those years.

Their findings? Goal persistence was linked to a greater decline in mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, and panic disorder over the next 18 years, while no link was found for self-mastery or positive reappraisal.

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