In last week’s link roundup, I promised to elaborate on my plans for this article about Jerry Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain” approach to creative habits.
Well, today I’m diving in. I’m expanding Seinfeld’s idea beyond the realm of writing and creative work and turning the chain into a tangible object, not just crossed-out days on a calendar. I wonder: will bringing my habits and goals into the physical world increase my odds of success?
I have a theory that a big red X on a calendar might not be enough for some ADHD’ers. Personally, the idea of creating a big, long paper chain — one that would outgrow all the places I found to store it — is much more exciting.
Habit challenge: from 30 days to 60
I had great success with a 30-day yoga challenge this summer. A long-distance friend joined me. We texted often to check in and share yoga podcasts and YouTube channels. My daily practice enriched my quality of life dramatically, to say the least, but I still fell away from it once the 30 days were up. If you have ADHD, this probably sounds familiar.
There must be a way for even the most habit-challenged among us to reroute our neural pathways — to make our desired habits stick.
In the interest of making progress toward permanent habits, I want my paper chain to do the yoga challenge one better: I want 60 days unbroken.
Choosing a chain (just one)
Speaking of habits, I have a bad one: leaping headfirst into too many projects at once. Toodledo is my preferred method of self-medication. I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering, do we need to work on just one chain at a time?
Yes. The ability to prioritize is a critical skill, and one worth practicing. Not to mention dividing your focus leaves fewer mental resources for each goal.
Faced with choosing just one habit to strengthen over the next 60 days, I’m going with meditation. Meditation is scientifically proven to strengthen focus, willpower, and executive function. Hopefully, meditating daily will give me across-the-board benefits.
I’ll post updates as I build — and try not to break — my chain.
Does technique sound like it would work for you? Why or why not? Interested in joining me? I’d love to hear about your goals and habits in the comments.