Dangle a Low-Hanging Carrot
Perhaps now you're thinking, "If I jog every morning this week, then I'll let myself have an ice cream on Friday." Maybe you'll get there. But the odds are higher if you reward yourself right after each workout. That's because dopamine, the feel-good chemical that reinforces habits, increases more with the prospect of an imminent reward than an abstract one. (Even X'ing out another square on a progress chart can satisfy the need for immediate gratification.) Have faith: Once the habit is established, you won't need to be so strategic. "Only when your brain starts expecting the reward—craving the endorphins or sense of accomplishment—will it become automatic to start lacing your jogging shoes each morning," Duhigg writes.