I share this with you not to brag or boast but to share with you a really powerful strategy that helped me completely reverse my workout habit…or lack thereof.
A little over 2 years ago Jodie and I had our second little girl Lily.
Now this was our second child so some things, well a lot of things actually, came much easier.
However, we had our share of new challenges as well.
Long story short, I only exercised 4 times in the past 2 years. Yep that’s right – only 4 times in 2 years.
Well, that all changed 10 weeks ago today after I read a couple excellent (and completely free) eBooks and this blog post by James Clear. (Go here -> http://jamesclear.com/habits to get the free ebooks)
The eBooks are about how to change habits and the blog post is about a very powerful strategy called “The Seinfeld Method.”
As you may have guessed, the Seinfeld Method is named that after the famous comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
Rumor has it that Jerry shared this method with a young comic by the name of Brad Isaac back in the day when Jerry was still touring around doing his standup routines.
You can read the whole story here but the gist of the story is that Brad asked Jerry for some advice.
Here’s what Jerry said according to Brad….
He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. 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.
I loved the simplicity of this method and figured I’d put it to the test myself.
As James Clear had suggested in his eBooks, I decided I would start with something ridiculously small and not focus on the “performance” but focus on the “process.”
In other words, the key is to just focus on actually doing a workout (no matter how small) instead of trying to have a really kick ass workout – which is what I have always strived for in the past.
So I set a goal of doing 10 perfect pushups and 10 perfect air squats each day. That’s it.
Once I did those 10 perfect pushups and air squats, I’d check off the day on the calendar and go about my day.
This was perfect because I have struggle to find more than 10-15 minutes each day that I can spend doing something I “want” to do rather than something I “have” to do. Something I’m sure most parents can relate to.
Now, in addition to the Seinfeld Method, I used a little formula that James shares in his eBook on how to create new habits which originally came from the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
The formula goes like this: Cue – Habit – Reward
The Cue is the thing that kicks off the Habit and the Reward is what you get for doing the habit.
In order to change a habit, it’s a good idea to figure out your daily “Cues” and then replace an old or bad habit with a new one.
When I looked at my day, I couldn’t identify too much “habit” once I left the house in the morning.
But my morning are fairly routine and always include a shower before leaving the house for work.
So my “Cue” would be taking a shower.
The next day, before I got into the shower, I made myself do my 10 perfect pushups.
Then I checked off that day on the calendar and went about my day.
This was something really easy I could fit into my morning schedule since it required zero equipment, barely any time and I could do it anywhere.
So that’s what I did 10 weeks ago today.
Below is a picture of my “Seinfeld Method” calendar:
I am now applying the Seinfeld Method to other aspects of my life – like writing a new blog post each Saturday to create the habit of writing on a regular basis.
Next Article In This Series: The Simple System For Creating New & Better Habits