Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Don't break the chain

It's like the universe is conspiring to help me.

Just before Christmas I came across the "No More Zero Days" movement - doing something, one thing, no matter how little, that contributes to your goal, to a new habit and to your progress. No matter how little you end up doing, just do at least something, not nothing during your day - no "zero" days.

Then Seth Godin presents me with the #YourTurn challenge and today I find this, from Jerry Seinfeldabout turning up regularly and never breaking the chain of positive behaviour when forming a good new habit. Day after day after day, inch by inch by inch.

This theme has presented itself to me regularly and increasingly in recent times and it's something I know deep down is true and necessary - for posting content, work, exercise, eating better... pretty much anything worth improving on.

I am reminded of that story about the guy on his roof in a flood...
It had been raining for days and days, and a terrible flood had come over the land. The waters rose so high that one man was forced to climb onto the roof of his house.
As the waters rose higher and higher, a man in a rowboat appeared, and told him to get in. 
"No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the rowboat went away. 
The man on the roof prayed for God to save him. 
The waters rose higher and higher, and suddenly a speedboat appeared. "Climb in!" shouted a man in the boat. 
"No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the speedboat went away. 
The man on the roof prayed for God to save him. 
The waters continued to rise. 
A helicopter appeared and over the loudspeaker, the pilot announced he would lower a rope to the man on the roof. 
"No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the helicopter went away. 
The man on the roof prayed for God to save him. 
The waters rose higher and higher, and eventually they rose so high that the man on the roof was washed away, and alas, the poor man drowned. 
Upon arriving in heaven, the man marched straight over to God. "Heavenly Father," he said, "I had faith in you, I prayed to you to save me, and yet you did nothing. Why?" 
God gave him a puzzled look, and replied "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"
 (Not that I'm religious at all but hey, it's a good story), 

So the universe has sent me numerous cues on how to improve all the things I've vowed to improve on, from "No More Zero Days" (the row boat), Seth (in his speedboat) with the #YourTurn challenge to help build the writing / posting / "turning up" habit and now it's Jerry Seinfeld (in a helicopter) highlighting yet again the importance of regular, never ending, incremental work towards any and all of your goals.

I'm placing a lot of faith in my week of posts and its ability to form better more regular writing habits for me and I hope I'm not pleading with Seth, or Jerry, next week asking why they didn't help me. It's time to accept their help and help myself.

As the Seinfeld article points out, this habit of continually turning up, day after day works for all habits, and it's very much what I need for my work projects, my exercise, my eating habits and my writing and content.