Achieving a long-term objective, such as getting in shape, paying off debt, or switching careers, takes persistence. Recent research has found something that can help: incorporating immediate benefits into your pursuit of longer-term goals. Make the short-term activities fun. If you want to work out more, select a fitness class that you enjoy. If you want to eat healthier, build a diet around healthy foods that you actually like to eat. Making activities more enjoyable — by listening to music while exercising or getting work done in your favorite coffee shop — may help you make progress in your goals. And take time to reflect on the enjoyment: If you’re eating a food you enjoy, focus more on the positive taste than the health benefit.
Adapted from “What Separates Goals We Achieve from Goals We Don’t,” by Kaitlin Woolley and Ayelet Fishbach