Forming new habits is hard.
Most of us want to form positive habits but when it comes to actually building them into our lives we end up feeling like Kevin from the Office.
But Ryan….forming habits are essential for building a good productivity system? They are….so how do we build habits easily?
Don’t Break the Chain
One of my favorite tools for forming a new habit is using a technique called don’t break the chain.
The basics of this system are…..
- Pick a habit or routine that you want to develop.
- Commit to doing the habit once a day.
- Once you complete the habit put an X on a piece of paper or in a tracking app.
That’s it. Not a very complex system.
Wait so why does this work?
The magic sauce behind this technique is that after a few days you will develop a chain of Xs.
It seems silly but having that visual helps motivate you to keep going.
It is easy to drop a habit after 1 or 2 times of doing it. After 25 times? Not as easy.
Using this system also helps you visualize your progress.
Seeing your streak on paper or on an app helps motivate you when you don’t want to complete your habit.
Ok that sounds good but does it work?
The short answer…..yes. Below are a few habit streaks that I went on using this method and the Streaks App.
- Completed a 45 day streak of using Calm to mediate.
- Completed a 30 day streak of avoiding fast food.
- Completed a 30 day streak of avoiding sodas.
- Currently on a 670 day streak of closing all three rings on my Apple Watch Acitivity App. Before this method I rarely closed my excerise ring.
- Currently on a 787 day streak of reading at least 1 page a day in a book.
But what if I break the chain?
Like most systems, it does work 100% of the time. I have started streaks and broke the chain.
For me when I break the chain it’s a time to reassess the habit.
If the habit is still important I commit to doing it the next day and starting a new streak.
If it’s not as important then I am ok with letting it go.
No matter what you do the goal is to continue to improve and get better. Let’s be less of the Kevin that started this post and more like the Kevin below.