Have you ever said you were going on a diet? Maybe you stuck to it for a few days. Then, one day, you find a whole chocolate cake in your fridge. You say, “I’ll just have one piece.” And then, 3 hours later, all that’s left is an empty plate, a few crumbs, and a lot of guilt.
Why does this happen?
Jerry Seinfeld knew why, and he also knew the secret of lasting change: building momentum. Check out this story that explains how Jerry is able to stay so productive and prolific throughout his career.
This is how Jerry stays on track to make sure his habits last even when he faces tough challenges:
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.
I love Jerry’s “Don’t Break the Chain” calendar. It’s not just about doing something each and every day.
It’s about the cumulative effects of all of your habits.
For example, maybe you had an extra busy week at work, and you didn’t get to the gym for 5 days in a row.
You’ll look at that week on your calendar and see that you have no red Xs on it. However, when you expand your view, your calendar looks like a blood bath.
That’s what really counts.
You just have to make sure that 5 days off doesn’t turn into 5 months.
You go back to your plan.
Remember in Part 3, we talked about the 3 steps of the Habit Loop - the secret to creating powerful habits?
It might be that your cue is no longer working or that your reward is no longer doing its job.
This can happen if your life follows a different pattern for a few days, like it might when you’re out of town for a conference.
The way to get back on track with your habit is to revisit your habit loop, make sure your triggers are in place, that you’re still committed to the routine, and that your rewards are clear and pleasurable for you.
Get back on track with your habit by going back to the plan: your habit loop, triggers and rewards.Tweet this
Setting up systems is the best way to keep yourself going. And to get the most from our efforts, we have to find the best system for us and then adjust if it’s not working.
To help you shortcut the process, I asked some of the world’s top experts on productivity, business, and fitness to share the simple systems they’ve built that have led to extraordinary results in their lives.
You can see all the systems they’ve built and the results they got in this free guide.
You’ll learn how to build long-lasting habits that get great results like:
Also, once you get my e-book, be sure to check out the 4,864 comments on the download page. You’ll find thousands of additional tests that my readers have used to improve their lives — everything from parenting, to waking up earlier, to improving their mood.