Forging new habits is hard. Depending on the habit you are trying to create, it can take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days to form the habit, with the average being 66 days.
It simply takes time to create the neural pathway in the brain that each new habit requires.
One strategy to help you along is called The Seinfeld Calendar Strategy. Yes, Seinfeld, as in Jerry Seinfeld.
According to the comedian, here’s how it works:
Seinfeld said that in order to become a better comic he knew he needed to get into the habit of writing new jokes every day. So, he found a wall calendar that had an entire year on one page and hung it on his wall, in a place he would have to see it every day.
Then he got out a big red magic marker and every day he wrote new jokes, he would put a big red X over that day on his calendar.
“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.”
The Seinfeld Calendar Strategy can be applied to any new habit you want to adopt, which requires Awareness, Accountability and Repetition:
- Awareness – The Seinfeld Calendar Strategy forces awareness of your new habit. Your calendar is looking at you every day.
- Accountability – The Seinfeld Calendar Strategy holds you accountable. If you fail to engage in the habit, you will see a blank space on your calendar where you know there should be a big red X.
- Repetition – Your desire to keep the chain going will force repetition, and repetition is the key to forging the new neural pathway required for all new habits. As the number of X’s grows on your calendar, so too does the strength of your new habit.