When I say Seinfeld, you probably think of comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his TV show or stand-up comedy. But from hence point forward, I want you to think about progress… better yet, I want you to think, “Don’t break the chain.”
Years ago, so the story goes, when Seinfeld was still a touring comic, he was asked if he had any tips for young comics. His reply went something like this:
“Get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step is to get a big red magic marker.
For each day that you do your task of writing jokes, you get to put a big red X over that day. After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain… Don’t break the chain.”
This is a great way to build any habit, but I’d like you to consider applying it to your fitness goals. At first, it may not seem like much. But after a while, you’ll start to get some satisfaction out of putting that X on your calendar. And shortly after that, you won’t want to break your chain. So for every day that you exercise, put that X on your calendar. For scheduled rest days, put an X up there as well, because proper rest should be a part of any balanced fitness plan. But not working out because you just don’t feel like it, and calling it a rest day, well, NO X FOR YOU!
This particular form of fitness tracking is the most rudimentary, basic way you can do it really. And that’s not necessarily bad. Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. But you could practice this same process using Microsoft Outlook by color-coding an all day-task. Or you could use a basic spreadsheet. Better yet, there are a host of habit-forming smartphone apps that are designed for this very task. Giddy-up!
Of course, you could also apply this to your nutrition goals: for each day you eat clean, put an X on your calendar. I’d be down with that, because at just a glance, you can get a real sense of how well you’ve done. If you see quite a few gaping holes because you’re cheating on your diet all wrong or making exercise excuses, it will be right there in front of you. But hopefully, there won’t be any holes… X marks the spot.
Now I don’t care if you use a red marker or blue one, a phone app or a spreadsheet, the important thing is that you track your fitness. Having the proof of your efforts is both motivating (assuming you’ve been faithful) or humbling (assuming you haven’t). Either way, it can be an important tool in helping you reach your goals… goals no Soup Nazi can deny you.