How to use the ‘Seinfield’ Strategy to build momentum and reach your goals
I have been recently reading a few articles on goal setting and one thing these articles have in common is something called the Seinfield Strategy.
What is the Seinfield Strategy?
The Seinfield strategy is a technique invented by world famous comedian Jerry Seinfield. Jerry used a calendar to keep track of his daily habit of comedic performance. Whenever he would do something such as write a joke, he would mark a big cross on that day. After several days of doing this, he noticed a chain beginning to form and this excited him. He used this strategy as a way to beat procrastination and keep up with his jokes.
Seeing this chain form helps us build momentum and encourages us to continue. .. When we cross of each day and see the chain of consistency, we feel very satisfied and motivated to carry on.
My form of the seinfield strategy is not by crossing off days on a calendar, but by using a phone app called Habitbull. It does exactly the same thing with the same purpose. The purpose is not to break the chain. If you would like to read more about this habit app, see my article here.
I have been using this app for around 5 weeks and my chain for writing everyday hasn’t been broken. However, with the other habits I want to adopt into my life, I’ve missed a day every now and then.
It’s okay if we miss a day every now and then, but to keep the momentum going, it’s important we get right back on track when we fall off. If we miss a day (which is inevitable) we can take a look at our calendar to remind ourselves of the chain we’ve been forming.
This will effortlessly motivate us to get quickly get back and track and form a new chain. The more we do this, the longer the chains will become and the more consistency we develop, the better we’ll get at whatever we’re doing.
Another bit of advice I’d like to give is to not beat ourselves up for missing a day. After all we are only human and will never be perfect. Aiming for perfection is just a waste of time and will actually hold us back from getting things done. I think the best advice I’ve ever heard is to scrap the idea of perfection and just focus on being good enough. And to take even more pressure of ourselves we can just focus on doing the action.
Why it’s important to not break the chain
When we have been consistently carrying out a desired behaviour for a number of days or even weeks, we start to see a chain forming. The more often we do something, the more momentum there is behind it. If we only wrote on one day a week, then it’s obvious there wouldn’t be any momentum going forward. However, if we were to write every single day (doesn’t have to be much) we would start to gain a lot of momentum.
There are so many benefits to not breaking the chain. We get a feel for what it is like to be a top performer, if only in small increments. It gives us a feeling of achievement and by keeping the chain going, we start to convince ourselves that we can make progress.
This is a simple but powerful strategy which will make a huge impact on our lives. I recommend getting a wall calendar which shows the full year on one page or install the HabitBull app on your phone. When you see a streak of crosses, you will feel empowered to continue. The only goal then is to keep the streak going.
Of course we procrastinate or we have things pop up in our lives which prevent us from doing the desired thing. Missing one day isn’t going to be much of an issue. However, when we miss more than one day at a time, resistance builds up and it becomes easier to procrastinate. This is why I recommend only missing one day at a time if you have to. I didn’t come up with this, it was the habit experts James Clear and Stephen Guise who did.
But I understand why it’s important to never go two days without doing a habit important to us because consistency is everything. Compliance and consistency are what actually help us achieve our goals.
Where I got the information from