We humans are creatures of habit. We always want to do things which are good for our lives. Many times we are motivated to start running or exercise. But motivation only takes you so far. Only when an action or behaviour becomes a habit, true change occurs. There is a big difference between doing a task deliberately vs doing it as a habit.
You don’t think twice to brush your teeth when you wake up. Similarly, some of us are so addicted to checking twitter or facebook that it has become second nature to immediately reach out to the app when you unlock your phone. All these happen without you putting in any significant mental effort. They have become habits.
Lot of people have written about forming habits. The one common pattern or technique that everyone suggests is to make sure you repeat doing the tasks every day. This is also called as the Seinfeld Technique or Don’t Break the Chain.
Legend says that when Seinfeld was training to become a comedian, he hung a big calendar where he would mark a big red X on each day that he wrote a joke. He would just keep marking it everyday, and his goal was to not break the chain of Xs.
We are all humans and we do miss/break the chain sometimes. I would suggest to add one more rule. Just make sure that you don’t miss 2 days in a row. If you want to run every day, and missed out on one day, make sure you don’t miss a second day.
The tool that I use is Habit List and it displays a calendar and color codes the items based on how many days you miss.
- If you keep doing the tasks every day, your tasks are marked in green.
- Miss one day, it turns yellow.
- Miss more than one day, it turns red.
Just don’t let it turn red and you should be good enough to form your habit and be productive.
Is there any other tricks that you use to form habits or not break the chain? Please leave them in the comments below.
Also published on Medium.