Jerry Seinfeld knows a thing or two about writing jokes. Early in his career, Seinfeld understood that the biggest strength a young comic could have early in his career would be to consistently write new material. He figured out a simple method for motivating himself to write every single day; the key that helped him fuel his success in becoming one of the most well-known comedians in the world.
What was his secret?
Writing an “X” on each calendar day that he achieved his goal.
This tactic not only works if you’re trying to write more every day, it’s easily applicable to just about any type of goal you’re trying to reach! Here’s how it works:
Get a calendar.
A wall calendar that you can hang somewhere you walk by frequently is the best (rather than an electronic version). Even better, a wipe-board calendar that can be cleaned off and reused over and over again for each new month or year.
Set a goal.
Keep your goal simple, clear, and attainable. Setting the intention that every day you will make conscious food choices and stop eating before you’re full at each meal is a good example. Saying that you will “eat healthy” every day is too broad, but saying you will “only eat home cooked meals for every single meal” is too specific and unrealistic. Find a goal somewhere in the middle.
Here are some great ideas for healthy goals to set, but remember to start with just one at a time. Earn an “X” for every day you:
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes.
- Meditate for at least 5 minutes.
- Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages, or drinks with added sugars.
- Eat at least two vegetable-only meals.
- Set aside your smartphone for at least one hour.
- Use transportation other than your car.
- Drink half your weight in ounces of water.
Mark your X’s!
Be honest about whether or not you earned your X that day, and mark the calendar accordingly. It’s so simple! Just mark an X on each day you achieved your goal, and see how many days in a row you can earn that X.
Keep the chain going.
Now that you’ve started earning your X’s, don’t break the chain. Keep going for as long as you possibly can! If you do break the chain, don’t get disappointed. Forgive yourself and be compassionate of the slip-up – it happens to everyone! Just get that X the next day, and the next. Then keep the chain going all over again.
[Credit: Trapani, Gina. “Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret.” Lifehacker.]