For every little piece of the puzzle you manage to do, psychologists say, it’s a good idea to reward yourself, even if it’s just something tiny. A study in 2018 found that giving yourself a small treat immediately after you’ve achieved something helps to maintain strong motivation throughout a task. The human brain loves rewards, and you’re effectively training yourself to remain positive and energetic about completing something by associating the work with good feelings.
The key word here is immediately. The 2018 study found that proximity is the key here; often, goals are about long-term rewards, but they can be tricky to keep in mind when the slog seems long. Giving yourself a reward when you’ve done one segment turns out to drastically improve your motivation levels for doing the next, and the next. It’s important, obviously, that the treats don’t detract from the overall goal (buying yourself expensive things when you’re trying to save, for instance), but otherwise, treating yo’self is apparently a pretty excellent motivational strategy to keep momentum.
So keep a store of tiny rewards to give yourself for every hurdle gained, switch up what motivates you when you feel yourself lagging, and try to think of motivation itself as something vast and inexhaustible. You’ve got the strategies to make this goal happen.