Take Jerry Seinfeld's Advice About Maintaining Habits: "Don't Break The Chain"
Starting a new habit is hard enough; keeping it's another matter entirely. James Clear has an answer to this problem - and he has Jerry Seinfeld to thank for it.
Starting a new habit is hard enough, particularly when there is all kinds of resistance around it, based in insecurity, fear of failure, looking like an idiot... the list goes on.
Maintaining that habit once you have actually mustered up the gumption to do the thing is another matter entirely.
There are all kinds of psychological exercises out there to help us motivate ourselves to stick at whatever it is we have committed ourselves to changing.
James Clear has one, however, that is designed to take the effort out of doing it.
The trick, as he explains here (and in the video below), is to focus on something completely different instead.
It's What We Focus On
Typically, we place so much energy on the thing we are actually doing that habits can become the big boogeymen, something we have to grapple with.
They become fights we need to win.
It's exhausting and only too often, self-defeating.
So, drawing on advice from comedian Jerry Seinfeld, Clear recommends this: simply mark out the days on the calendar when we actually do what we say we are going to do - and switch the goal to progressively getting as many days in a row as we can.
The focus will shift away from the habit itself and on to the number of days we have crossed off. It then becomes an issue of minimising the number of days that are not crossed off - rather than obsess fruitlessly over the task-at-hand.
"Don't Break The Chain"
This is what Clear calls, "Don't Break The Chain" and actually seeing the chain take its form in front of us, is key to making it work, he says:
"Whatever the habit is you're trying to build, this type of feedback, It gives you a visual cue, a long-term motivator to see that on the wall and to look at the progress you have made."