Don’t break the chain

Happy New Year!  Perhaps you’re reading this while running on a treadmill or eating a kale and broccoli salad.  January is a time of possibilities, of new beginnings, and of course, resolutions.  The two most common are to work out more and to eat better (both are on my list of things to do in 2018).  You’ve probably noticed how the gym parking lot is full in January, but then February hits and what happens?

It takes anywhere from three weeks to two months to form a habit, depending on who you believe.  Doing anything for 40 days (splitting the difference) requires commitment and perseverance.  Procrastination and inertia challenge you every step of the way.  Temps fall below zero and your desire to leave the house, let alone go work out, takes a back seat to the warm and cozy confines.  We’ve all been there in one way or another.

Humans are motivated by a variety of factors, but one of the strongest is progress.  This is because progress leads to momentum, which overcomes the aforementioned roadblocks and leads to further progress.  So how do you create a framework to accomplish your goals that is built on progress and momentum?

Jerry Seinfeld helped introduce more to the American lexicon than any other modern day comedian.  Yada yada.  The Soup Nazi.  Close talker.  Art Vandelay.  Regifting and double-dipping.  Serenity now!  So how was he able to become one of the most successful comedians of all-time?  By writing jokes every day.  Here’s how his system worked.

First, Jerry would hang an annual calendar on his wall.  Then for each day he wrote jokes, he would take a red magic marker and cross off that day on the calendar.  After several days of writing jokes, there would be a chain of red Xs.  His goal at that point was to not break the chain.  Through deliberate practice, Jerry turned small wins into bigger ones down the road.

With your 2018 resolutions, you (and I) have one job…don’t break the chain.

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