Don’t Break the Chain (caution: habit forming)

the-chain2Could adopting a good habit be life changing for you? You betcha!

Your success depends on your ability to master the basics.

A few weeks ago I stumbled across Jerry Seinfeld’s simple but genius method of adopting a good habit. It’s called “Don’t Break the Chain”. Its simplicity is what makes it work. All you need is a blank calendar, a red marker, and a habit you want to adopt.

Step 1: Identify a habit you want to adopt.

For your challenge, I recommend habits that you ultimately need to adopt for a lifetime…or a habit that will help you get a major project done. Here are a few ideas:

  • Start each day with a prioritized To Do list.
  • Exercise 10-15-30 minutes a day.
  • Read 15 minutes a day.
  • Work on XYZ project 30 minutes every day.
  • Clean your desk every night.
  • Make 5 new lead calls a day.
  • Study or pray every morning.
  • Write in a Gratitude Journal every night.
  • Give up something…like opening email (or Facebook!) before your #1 priority is done.

I recommend identifying 2 habits for your challenge. One personal and one business.

Step 2: Post a calendar for each habit in your challenge.

Need a calendar? You can print 2 blank calendars here.

Step 3: Give yourself a Big Red X every day you complete your challenge.

Your goal is to get a chain of red X’s with no “breaks in the chain.” After about 4 days, it becomes really compelling to keep things going.

Accountability makes this even more fun. Involve your spouse and kids – and definitely challenge your staff to participate with you. Have everyone post their calendars on their door or on the office fridge.


Note: It is permissible to change your habit on the weekends (or vacations), but you must have something you do in its place. For example, one of my first habits was to “Create a prioritized task list for tomorrow before I go to bed”. On vacation, I changed my challenge to: 1) read a business book 20 minutes every day; 2) keep my email inbox clean. Those were my only business “tasks” that week, so I got a red X if I did it.

Step 4: Set up a reward.

Begin with the end in mind.

What’s something you could do when you complete a one-month chain? Get a massage, take an afternoon off for a specific hobby you enjoy, buy something you want, etc. Pick it – and schedule it now!

You can set a self-imposed punishment too – something awful you have to do if you DON’T keep it going – like clean someone else’s bathroom or car, donate to the opposing political party, etc. These are great to brainstorm if you’re doing this as a group, so have fun with it!

That’s it!

What’s your challenge going to be?

Will you involve your family or staff too? Share below or tag me in a Facebook post. (Bonus points if you link to this article to spread the idea!)

Here’s to your remarkable success!

– Nicole


About The Author

Nicole Gebhardt

Nicole Gebhardt is the CEO of Niche Pressworks publishing, a Marketing Strategist and Certified Publishing Coach. Through marketing consulting and book publishing she helps Speakers, Coaches, Consultants and Business Leaders create compelling and effective messages to inspire people to action. Over the last 24 years she has helped build brands, expand influence, and equip authors who change the world.

Share this Post

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field