Try this little known trick to change a bad habit and develop healthy habits that stick!
Finding it hard to change a bad habit?
Why is it so hard to give up the things that will improve your life?
What you think is missing is a lack of willpower but you’re wrong.
Your life today is the sum of your habits.
If you’ve been part of my community or read my book Unbreakable then you know that Just over five years ago, I lost 30lbs.
I didn’t realize that the habits I had formed were key to helping me to lose the weight and keep it off. The key to my success was due to my daily habits and routines. The key to happiness, wellness, and success in all areas of life comes from your daily habits.
Here’s a simple trick to change a bad habit.
Don’t Break the Chain – Jerry Seinfeld’s Method
The method is called Don’t Break the Chain and it’s a method that is thought to have been developed by the comedian Jerry Seinfeld. This method is a great tool to change a bad habit!
When Jerry Seinfeld was an up-and-coming comedian, he made a commitment to write one joke a day. Not an entire routine or monologue. Just one funny line.
He had a big calendar of the whole year on a wall in his apartment. Every time he wrote a joke, he put a red X on that date.
Before long he had a growing chain of red X’s on the calendar — a visual reminder of the consistent work he put in.
So how can you use the ‘Don’t Break the Chain’ method to change a bad habit?
Let’s say you want to develop the habit of drinking 8 glasses of water a day.
What you would do is pull out a calendar [a regular old skool calendar works best] for the whole year.
Each day when you drink 8 glasses of water you put a red X through the calendar for that day and each following day that you drink 8 glasses of water until a small chain forms.
Using this approach, you commit to taking one small action every day toward a bigger habit you want to develop.
On the flip side if there is a habit that you are trying to break take out your calendar and mark a red X in your calendar for each day that you don’t perform the bad habit. Seeing this chain in black and white is an effective tool to change a bad habit.
I’ve created this free printable for you that you can use to help you to change a bad habit!
If you don’t want to use a calendar there are a few apps you can use:
Why is the ‘Don’t Break the Chain’ Method Successful?
Experts believe there are two reasons why the ‘Don’t Break the Chain’ method works:
You Get a Hit of Dopamine – Every time you put a red X through your calendar you get a hit of dopamine – the feel good hormone. You also get a sense of accomplishment each time you mark a red X through the calendar. Our brains are wired to repeat actions that give us that hit of dopamine, um helllo Instagram.
Loss Aversion – The second reason why experts believe this works is loss aversion. As the chain gets longer the stakes rise and we feel like we have a lot more to lose. We are also wired to avoid pain and seek pleasure.
How Long Does is Take to Change a Bad Habit?
Now there are some studies that say that it takes 21 days to develop a habit but it’s actually 66 days. For the first 2 months it’s crucial that the chain not be broken.
Hopefully in 66 days your habit will be broken. If not, don’t feel discouraged it can take people anywhere from 18 – 254 days to break a bad habit. The key is consistency, stick with it every single day.
Remember success does not happen by chance. It comes from being consistent every day. When you look at successful people it’s what they do day in and day out to achieve that success. They succeed by transforming habits, one by one and you can too.