Don’t Break the Chain

You’ve probably made New Year’s resolutions earlier this year, but how far have you come so far?

You may have told yourself something like this year, I’m going to commit to my goals more often than last year.

Chances are, you really hit the year off with a few weeks of true dedication. How many of those goals are still being worked on today? On-top of that, how many of those goals are actually being tracked?

You know how it goes, you might go to the gym everyday for the last week and then you miss the gym once. Once turns into twice, twice turns into three times, and eventually you are back to your old habit of not going to the gym regularly.

The idea is that if you have a thing you need to do and need to do it all the time. You give yourself a minimal amount of time to complete that thing. Start off small with something you can commit to such as 30 minutes. You are now committing 30 minutes a day to something you need to do.

The next step is that you need to track it somehow. The simplest method has been accredited to Jerry Seinfeld who would have a goal to write a new joke everyday, and when he wrote a new joke, he would mark a giant red X on his wall calendar. This gave him a sense of accomplishment and visualizing his progress every day. He deemed this as a productivity tip known as “Don’t break the chain”.

The visualization that you are completing the thing you need to do and have a continuous chain of red Xs gives you a sense of satisfaction which is one of the ways we develop positive habits.

Seinfeld’s Wall Calendar

This approach will make you mindful of your habit, your end goal, and it will put you in touch with the physical world to actually put in the work and mark your calendar when you completed it.

Breaking the Chain

When you break the chain, you feel a sense of disappointment. That you need to start over from scratch. But this really serves as a sense of motivation to do better the next time. Breaking the chain at 10 will push you to make 20 the next time. Breaking the chain at 20 will push you to make 30 after that. Eventually you’ll have chains so long that they become second-nature. You are now programmed to complete this task everyday, and you mark your calendar everyday. You’ll look back on your progress from your massive chains and be one step closer to your goals.

To help you not break the chain, go buy a simple wall calendar.

You can also use the calendar below to track your single habit.

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Consistency is Key

By embracing this technique, you are empowering yourself to become consistent. You won’t lack any motivation because you know that you will complete this task no matter the circumstances, and if you don’t you’ll be inspired to do better next time.

Think about it. What if instead of worrying about the results from your actions, you just did them? Those results would come naturally if you simply just focused on not breaking the chain.

You’re going to get demotivated at some point in your journey. Whether that is learning something incredibly difficult, trying a new activity and failing miserably, or life finding a way to bring you to rock-bottom. The thing that separates you from success is being able to put the work in each day regardless.

Mastery requires consistency, and if you want to truly master something, you will need to show up every day. What if…

  • You don’t break the chain on your diet, you would lose weight faster.
  • You don’t break the chain on your side project, you would ship to market that much sooner.
  • You don’t break the chain on your date nights with your significant other, you’d feel closer to each other.

We typically get in our heads regarding how much effort it takes to actually do something meaningful. The reality is that showing up is 80% of the battle, and 20% is doing the work.

So I’m asking the question to you… Are you willing to show up every day and not break the chain?

P.S.

If you started with a single habit and tracked it on a calendar, you can upgrade to this habit tracker to track more of your habits together.

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