Jerry gives good advice

A reddit member posted a link to an article about comedian Jerry Seinfeld’s secret to writing. But the author says it can be applied to anything, and he has used it for himself in many areas. It will even work in getting people to exercise with some regularity, and I will vouch for the concept. It’s what happened to me in terms of transforming myself from a dreamer who avoided the gym and couldn’t force myself to do even five minutes of exercise a day into a guy who now hasn’t missed a day of exercise in 11 months. An astonishing achievement for someone as undisciplined as I am—or used to be—when it comes to making myself stretch, push or lift. So here are some excerpts:

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “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.”

“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.

Over the years I’ve used his technique in many different areas. I’ve used it for exercise, to learn programming, to learn network administration, to build successful websites and build successful businesses.

It works because it isn’t the one-shot pushes that get us where we want to go, it is the consistent daily action that builds extraordinary outcomes. You may have heard “inch by inch anything’s a cinch.” Inch by inch does work if you can move an inch every day…

Skipping one day makes it easier to skip the next.

This reminds me of a friend who drank and drugged for years, then joined Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous and has now gone almost 20 years without a drop of booze or dope or coke. He always says that it’s impossible to “just have one little drink” and then go back to abstinence. So he never “skips a day” of sticking to his routine. I feel the same way about my exercise chain. So I make myself do it to keep the chain going.