When I first decided to start working out nearly a year ago, I knew I needed a to motivate myself and hold myself accountable until I got into the groove and solidified the habit, so I created a simple system to give myself rewards based on how many times I went to the gym. It's like achievements irl.
Using the Google keep app (just a note-taking app), I made a checklist like this.
Each time I went to the gym, I got to check off one of the checkboxes, and when I made it to the reward box, I got the reward!
Every time I thought of something new that I wanted, but didn't need, I'd decide how many times I had to go to the gym to earn that reward. Smaller things only required 3-5 trips, while bigger things may necessitate 10 to 15 trips to the gym.
I'd then put that number of checkboxes on the end of the list, followed by the reward. This added some variation and supplied me with a steady stream of motivating rewards. Plus, checking off that checkbox each time felt pretty good as well.
At this point, I no longer need this system to get myself to go to the gym because I found that I love working out, but there were plenty of days early on where the thought of the reward that was coming was the only thing that got me out of bed.
By the way, strategies like this one are called gamification, if you want to look into it more! There’s not a ton of information out there about them, but this idea is from an article that I wrote about gamification to get you started. App developers use gamification all the time to get you to use their app more—why not apply it intentionally to improve your life?