Do you have problems forming and sticking to new habits? Do you have a tiny case of OCD?
Then this is the ultimate self-improvement technique for you.
It’s called the Don’t-Break-The-Chain technique. It’s dead-simple, super effective (like Pokémon attacks) and strangely pleasurable…
1) Choose some habit(s) you would like to adhere to on a regular basis
If you’re new to this, start with just one or two. My current habits are morning meditation, 1 mile walk, waking by 6am, exercise, no drugs/alcohol and no porn/masturbation.
2) Get a calendar
Here are your options for calendars in order of awesomeness:
– A web app, eg. chains.cc which also has an accompanying iPhone app.
– A physical calendar on which you can draw big X’s. Only use this if you’re desperate because the digital versions automatically keep track of your streaks and allows for multiple habits with varying requirements of consistency.
3) Cross out every day you stick to the habit
It feels fantastic to cross off each day. I’ve been told it’s common to unconsciously utter the words ‘Damn right’ or ‘BOSS’ while doing this…
Why does this work so well?
You’ll do anything to continue the chain. You’ll even find yourself having the urge to lie when you break a particularly long chain. That’s part of why this technique is so effective: it’s painful to go back to (literally) square one.
Consistency is key. Habits are solidified through steady commitment to change, even if those commitments are small in scope. Going an inch a day is far better than trying to go 6 inches every few days and failing.
It’s fun. Like I said before, you feel very accomplished when you cross off your habits at the end of the day. This technique turns habit formation into a game against yourself in which it’s almost more about the chain than it is about the habits.
So grab a calendar and put down your first big X. Then do that one more time. And one more time after that… ;)