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I stopped logging my workouts for a week and this happened:

יונ 7, 2023

How many people have had the experience of starting a new habit, then life got busy and found ourselves back at square one? I would guess everybody, I know I have!

A proven way to increase your chances of success is to use a simple habits tracker such as a calendar or an excel file. (There are also great apps for this if that works better for you.)

The story is told of an up and coming comic who asked Jerry Seinfield for the secret to success. Seinfeld’s response was “Get a Big Yearly Calendar and put it on your fridge. Write one joke every single day no matter what. When you’ve written the joke, you get to make a big red check mark for that day. The most important thing- don’t break the streak!”

calendR

HABIT TRACKERS- SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE


The story is told of an up and coming comic who asked Jerry Seinfield for the secret to success. Seinfeld’s response was “Get a Big Yearly Calendar and put it on your fridge. Write one joke every single day no matter what. When you’ve written the joke, you get to make a big red check mark for that day. The most important thing- don’t break the streak!”

 

jerry

HIGHEST GROSSING COMEDIAN OF ALL TIME. RECOMMENDS USING A HABIT TRACKER.

Everyone thinks getting started with a new habit is hard. Motivation is actually the easy part from a behavioral science perspective. Creating long term habits on the other hand, requires real work. Having the right systems in place, such as social accountability and habit tracking, makes it 10x easier to stick to the plan when you don’t want to. You show up to your job every day, even though you’d rather go to the beach, because someone will hold you accountable for not being there and you won’t get paid.

Let’s look at a real life example many of us have experienced.

Say you are hit with a burst of inspiration to improve your health! You decide to prepare healthy food to take with you to work instead of ordering junk for lunch. Your motivation is high, and you keep it up for a whole week! All goes as planned. Next week your kid is sick, and a co-worker is out, and you're sleep deprived. Where is your motivation now? It took the 7:30 Southbound train and was miles down the track before you even noticed it’s missing. Does this indicate faulty character on your part? Not at all! It’s actually a highly sophisticated survival mechanism, and knowing how to work around it is key to life long habit change.

Here’s why brand new baby habits are so easily broken, and need to be given lots of extra pampering and support to get through those critical first few months.

New patterns require your brain to expend a massive amount of energy to lay down the “wiring”. When stress levels rise, your limbic system will quickly ditch anything which isn’t directly helping you to survive at this exact moment. It doesnt care that you want to lose weight or get strong, and it has the power to instantly override your thinking brain, or neo-cortex.

Like I wrote earlier, this is in no way a reflection on your “poor character”. It’s actually a very normal survival mechanism which helped your forebearers survive unimaginable threats in order to get you here today, and it probably helped you to get through some tough times in your own life.

You need strong supports in place to make sure you keep your new habit going when life throws you a curveball (Doesn’t it always do that?). Otherwise, your brain will ditch the new behavior without any conscious decision on your part.

Understand, It is in our deepest nature as a species to hunt and gather for survival, not to farm.
Everything about modern life is farming. Farming is numbers and repetition. 

Our ancestors didn’t need to go out of their way to get exercise and eat whole foods. Doing those things kept them alive and allowed them to reproduce. If they hadn't been very active, then you wouldn’t be reading this blog post, nor would I have written it in the first place.

6 weeks ago, my coach Jay Williams told me about the 7/30/100 rule. 
The rule is simple.
Anybody can do anything for 7 days.

If you can hang on for a week, then with the right systems in place you can get to a month.
Got to the 30 day mark? That is huge!

With tracking and accountability, you are capable of repeating the feat 2 more times and getting to a 100 day winning streak!

(Out beyond 100 we are already in the realm of major shifts in storyline, and on the path to building life-long habits. But I digress.)

 I decided to test the 7/30/100 rule on myself. I committed to no refined carbs or processed foods, something I’ve known I should do for a while.

 The next step is critical. 

 I created a written habits tracker which I would get to mark off every day that I stuck to my plan.

Since I was already tracking habits, I decided to track exercise as well, but I recommend starting with one single habit if these are things you are not already doing.

So how did it go for me? Getting to a week was easy (motivation is always high at the beginning), and once I hit a week, it didn’t feel like much effort to get to a month.

In terms of exercise, my back was spasming severely during the first month, and all I could do was walking and pilates, so that’s exactly what I did every single day!

(You control what you control, let go of everything else.)

A few weeks in I had some cake at a family gathering, but this didn’t throw me off course, because I was committed to the process of tracking. Having that visual reminder combined with the ritual of writing things down at the end of the day ensured that the following day I was back on track.

Around day 40, I learned a valuable lesson. My paper started to get full, so I switched from tracking on paper to excel (my wife doesn't like a cluttered fridge) .Oddly enough, after the first day I didn’t write anything for a week.

Guess what else I didn’t do? I only worked out once, which is unusual for me (I have a 2 decades long exercise habit). The reason for the failure was that I had tried to start a new habit (writing on the computer) and had relied on the automaticity of the previously established habit (writing on paper) to get me to do it. It turns out it doesn’t work that way!

EXCEL

(Backfilled, but you can see the large red gap where I missed workouts for a week.)

New habits take energy and focus, even the simple habit of logging should be treated with reverence if it is to succeed.

Want to start a new habit and stick to it?

Here’s your homework:

  1. Make a simple and very doable plan.
  2. Track it for 7 days (don’t skip this part!)
  3. Got at least 6 out of 7? Go for 30.
  4. Repeat.

 Need help? We can take care of all the details for you!

 

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