Changing habits often starts with high motivation. But we most often struggle in changing our behavior over a longer period of time. This results in feeling guilty and being depressed over our weakness.
A good way to overcome these negative feelings and to keep you motivated is to use chaining. It means that you create a series of positive behavior. Let me explain this with an example:
You decided to improve your health and go jogging every day. Each day you go out to run your chain gets longer. If you manage to run every day for one week you create a chain of seven days. Now it might happen that the weather became very unpleasant and that you missed going out to run for two days. Now the chain is interrupted. You have to start running again starting a new chain and this time you try to make the chain longer than the previous one.
Chaining is an approach where you compete against yourself. On the other hand the concept of chaining already includes the fact you might not be able to perfectly succeed from the beginning. When a chain ends you look forward starting the next chain instead of looking back and feeling bad.
To make it work it is important to visualize the chain. You can use a meter, or a calender and there even is a website http://www.joesgoals.com/, which supports chaining visualization.
Your target is to make a chain long enough that it just became a habit you don’t have to think about. The concept of chaining is entirely in the spirit of the former athlete Jim Ryun who said “Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.”