BUILD HABITS WITH DAILY ACTION
According to a recent survey, four out of five people who make New Year’s resolutions will eventually break them. In fact, a third won’t even make it to the end of January. Those are some sobering statistics.
It’s obvious that changing our ways isn’t a simple task. Often the root of the problem is that the goals are too general. A pledge to “lose some weight” or “eat healthier” is almost doomed to failure from the start…there’s no plan of action.
Goals need to be measurable and there needs to be a specific “road map” that can be followed: If you say “I will lose 15 lbs. by my birthday; I will do 30 minutes of cardio three times per week and I will not snack after dinner” you now have a plan and a strategy that will help you succeed.
With a plan like that you begin to make the changes that are necessary to form new habits. It is this consistent daily action that leads us to our goals. Instead of “one step forward, two steps back”, we constantly inch our way towards our target.
A few weeks ago I stumbled across a simple tool that can be used to help reinforce this principle. Jerry Seinfeld is credited with coming up with the idea when he was a young, touring comedian. He wanted to be a better comic, and decided that the best way to do that was to have better jokes. This meant writing and working on his material every single day. He did just that, and the rest, as they say, is history.
His technique is simple and can be used for any area of your life that can benefit from daily action. All you need is a big wall calendar that shows the whole year on one page and a big red magic marker. Then on each day you accomplish your task, you place a big red X on that day.
After you string a few days together, you will see that your Xs are beginning to form a chain. Keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. After a few weeks you’ll like seeing that big long chain and be pretty proud of it. Now you only have one job…DON’T BREAK THE CHAIN!
An exercise program lends itself perfectly to this setup. Even on days that you can’t make it into the Club to do your workout, you can do something to fulfill your daily fitness requirement. A brisk 20 minute walk, some abs and bodyweight exercises, a yoga DVD, there are countless ways to keep your string intact. The whole point is to find what works for you and then turn it into a habit.
Remember, inch by inch, anything’s a cinch!