Don’t Break the Chain

Track your progress with this easy to use tool

I want to thank Shawn for letting me write the first guest post on his blog. Thanks!

Like many of you, I’ve been working with Shawn on revamping my nutrition. I’m really excited about getting things dialed in, but I’m finding there are a lot of behavior changes I need to keep track of every day. Being something of a productivity wonk, I did some looking around and found an effective (for me, YMMV) technique to keep me on task and following my nutrition plan.

The funny part is this comes from a practice Jerry Seinfeld used when he was working on becoming a recognized comedy writer. You can read his account here.

People tend to be visual, and like to have a sense of accomplishment. Keeping track of all the components you need to be compliant with your nutrition program can be difficult, and there is no reinforcement for the good work you’ve already done.

Here’s the trick I’ve been using for a few weeks that have helped me.

  1. Print off the Year At A Glance Calendar
  2. At the bottom of the page, list your nutrition compliance steps, see the image at the top of this post
  3. Put the calendar on your refrigerator, where you have to see it every time you open the door.
  4. Every day you follow the steps called out by your nutrition plan, mark a red ‘X’ through that day
  5. Now, don’t break the chain! Bask in the glow of that ever growing little red chain of ‘X’s. Smile as you complete 3, then 7, then 21 days without a miss.
  6. If you break the chain, start over on the same calendar, you’ll grow to hate those blank dates.

It seems silly, (and it is), but it’s an easy way to keep your goals top of mind, and after you have several consecutive days under your belt you don’t want to break the chain, which gives you more incentive to stick to your plan.

Anyway, something to play with.