Reference: Gregory Ciotti: How to build good habits
When you set a big goal one of two bad things can happen:
1. It seems too impossible to even try. You feel like you're conquered before you start. This makes the idea of confronting the problem too painful to handle.
2. You start but you demand hard work from yourself. Hard work is unpleasant. You need a strong motivator to inspire it. However, progress is slow. You can't see immediate results. So, you have no motivation to continue for long.
How To Beat Procrastination
So, instead of a big goal, work with Micro Quotas. These are small goals that are very easy to achieve. That makes them irresistible. Once you're in action, you'll probably do a little more than planned. That's due to the Ziegarnik Effect. Once people start something they like to finish unless a stronger impulse leads them in another direction. For instance, if you find the task hard or if something that is more fun comes along, the Ziegarnik Effect is not going to drive you to the finish.
Nate Barry forced himself to write 1000 words per day no matter what. This is something he was able to do and it resulted in 3 books. BJ Fogg committed to flossing only one tooth every time he brushed. To build a habit, the important thing was not the number of teeth he flossed but just doing something to make flossing a regular part of his life.
An unseen barrier to action is a minor inconvenience that, added to your task, makes it too hard to do. You want to go for a run as soon as you wake up but you feel frustrated by the need to assemble your gear. Your mind sees that as enough of a problem to discourage you from going into action. The solution is to get your running gear ready before you go to bed. That takes away the problem.
Choice Is A Problem
Making making lots of choices depletes your mental energy even if the choices are insignificant and not stressful. This leaves you with less ability to control your behaviour. The solution is to eliminate choice as much as possible. Eliminate some of the variety from your life. Wear the same clothes on a regular basis, eat the same food and follow the same routines.
You can avoid choice by tying an action to a trigger. Then it happens automatically. You might not be enthusiastic about doing it but force of habit will drive you to do it. Like brushing your teeth before bed.
The Give-Up Cue
One trigger we develop very easily is the cue to give up. We exaggerate problems so when we slip up on a new habit, we think that all is lost and stop trying to succeed. For instance, when people on a diet over-eat, they abandon all self-control because they think they have nothing more to gain from self-control.
Of course, that's absurd. If you fall off a ladder it makes no sense to jump off a cliff but that's what people do. And, if you want to maintain control when you slip up, you have to recognize that. Just because you goof up every now and then doesn't mean that you are getting nowhere.
Grade Your Actions But Not Yourself
Also, when you make an error you should not think that you are bad. If you think you're bad then you don't think you deserve success and that takes away your reason for pursuing your goal. You have a fundamental obligation to take care of yourself and if you stop taking care of yourself because you make mistakes who is going to do it for you? No one. That means you are doomed and is that what you really want? No. So, you have to continue to help yourself after you make mistakes.