The Seinfeld Method

Happy New Year to you all. I know it’s been some time since I blogged. Partly it has been the dreaded deadline doom as I finished The Fall of Macharius. Partly it has been the curse of Nurgle as yet more of his winter plagues have racked my aching body. And partly, of course, it has been pure laziness on my part.

Like everybody else I made some resolutions for the New Year. I have even found a way of helping myself keep them. I am using what is commonly known as the Seinfeld method. It is associated with Jerry Seinfeld because he used it started his career as a method of getting himself to write jokes every day. It is otherwise known as “don’t break the chain.”

All you need to do is decide what needs to be done each day then once you have done it you make a cross on your calendar. It sounds simple and it is but it is a surprisingly powerful tool when you want to form a new habit or rid yourself of a bad one.

In my case I had several resolutions. I wanted to write every day. I wanted to walk for at least an hour every day. And I wanted to eat healthily every day. In my case I defined the last one is cutting out chocolate, cakes and sweets as well as bread. So far I have managed all of these things.

You’re probably thinking that I could do this without putting a mark on a calendar and of course you would be right. Where keeping a record helps is that it gives you something to aim for. And the more ticks you make on your calendar the more personal it becomes. It is quite easy to abandon your plan after one or two days but once you have built up a streak you find yourself becoming motivated to keep it going. You don’t want to break the chain.

For me at least this actually works. There have been occasions when I have considered eating a bar of chocolate and then found myself thinking that I would need to start the chain again from scratch and asking myself I really want to do that. The answer was no.

The other thing about the Seinfeld method is that it forces you to focus on the time that matters—today. When you are trying to add that extra mark on your calendar all you need to do is get through this one day. Tomorrow the chain will be extended by one more link. You just need to concentrate on doing what needs to be done right now. This is a method that is commonly used by members of Alcoholics Anonymous when they are trying to avoid drinking. Doing things one day at a time works.

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