One of the best tricks I’ve learned to improve my likelihood of sticking to a habit is so simple it’s sinful.

Stop thinking of a new habit as something you have to do, but as something you are allowed to do.

Let’s say you’re starting a workout. Many people think, “OK, I gotta do this. It’s good for me, I’m way too lazy, I need to burn off my fat, if I do this I’ll feel better about myself.” This is wrong, because then the workout is a chore you have to get through to get the benefits, and so you struggle through this boring, hard, sucky thing in order to get to the goal.

Instead, you can simply think, “I’m allowing myself to do this. It’s a treat.”

And it is. A workout can be a lovely thing, where you feel your body moving, you push against the forces of gravity, you triumph despite the difficulty, you get fresh air and gorgeous nature and you are treating your body and being good to it. This is a rare treat.

Once you shift from “have to” to “allowed to”, you now feel good about the activity. It’s not a chore, but a treat. It’s not something you struggle through to get the benefit — it is the benefit.

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