I started to learn Spanish when I was in secondary school. I'd never spoken it before, and I'd never been to Spain at that point. I never continued it as I got older.
Fast forward 5 years. My uncle married a Spanish lady, and I had a Spanish girlfriend for a period of time.
I fell in love with Spanish culture, the language, and Spain.
I set myself the task of learning to at least speak conversationally.
I found the best way of forcing myself to do it.
The brain "feels" losses more than it does equal amount of gain.
Losing $10 is more 'painful' than gaining $10. Failing a day of a habit feels worse than completing a day.
What I needed was an accountability partner. Someone committed to their own goal, who had to do it every day.
My best mate wanted to make music every day, so we made a bet. Whoever broke their chain first, owed the other person dinner. Somewhere fancy, minimum $75 a head.
As much as I wanted to learn Spanish, I didn't want to pay for an expensive dinner more.
I kept my streak unbroken for over a year. I did Spanish while blackout drunk, in university lectures, even on the toilet. Anything to keep the streak going.
Once you've started it's almost impossible to consciously stop.
That's why I'm betting on seeing a lot of Ship30for30 essays today, even though the challenge is over.
Loss aversion will make you keep going.
Don't break the streak.