Rewards are critical in building habits. While random rewards at every step along the way may work to some degree, it's more effective to use rewards specific to your goal. This video explains why.
We've discussed the habit loop before, which heavily relies on using rewards to build good habits and break bad ones. However, just any reward won't necessarily push you towards your goals.
If you view the habit you're building as a task rather than a fun activity, you risk stopping the habit if you stop the reward. Worse, you may decide to continue rewarding yourself without continuing the habit. For example, if your reward is an hour of video games after the gym, you know you don't need the gym to play video games. During a busy week, when you don't have enough time for your reward, you might decide to break your habit as well. On the other hand, if your reward is upgrading to a better yoga mat after achieving a certain pose, you'll need to continue doing yoga in order to use the mat, so the reward itself provides incentive to continue with the habit.
In the video above, Gretchen Rubin dives further into how this works, and why it's more effective than random rewards for your hitting your goals.
Why Rewarding Yourself May Be a Bad Idea, for Habits [The Happiness Project]