... are what you need.
I've been trying to go to the gym almost every day and for Lent, I've given up alcohol. I've spent some time recently, watching my behaviors, trying to figure out my modes of failure and modes of success.
You need self-discipline in bursts.
Once you get started, you keep going, whether that's getting ready and going to the gym or opening a beer. The hardest part about working out for me is getting up when the alarm goes of at 0430. My gym gets crowded around 0530, so you need to get there by 0500 to have a decent weight lifting session. That 0430 alarm is a killer. We've had a cold, wet winter here in San Diego, so getting out of a warm bed is tough. Once I'm out, it's all downhill from there. I've had times where I skipped the workout because I didn't feel like getting out of bed, but never because I stopped after that.
My craving for a beer starts around 1630 and lasts until 1730. I don't want to drink in the daytime and if I've not started by dinner, my craving is gone and it just sounds gross to open a beer after that. I only need to steel myself for that one hour and I'm good.
Stress and excuses play a big part in my failures, too. Yesterday was incredibly frustrating, so I declared a Lent Jubilee and had some brews. I couldn't find the strength to resist during that hour and gave in to my cravings. If I can find a reason to skip the workout, like when my joints are hurting, I'm much more likely to turn off the alarm and go back to bed.
Good behaviors or bad seem to have a momentum all their own. They keep going once you start them. The obvious trick, then, is to find ways to let loose that burst of self-discipline. I'm still working on that part.