Use the chain effect to create lasting change

There is no doubt that instilling new habits is one of the MOST effective ways to make lasting change to your life – or business.

When you instill new habits you are adjusting your lifestyle – amending your daily practices … introducing new behaviour – often forcing negative behaviour patterns out of the way to make room.

Developing new habits can be tough, though.  That is evidenced by the new year madness that ensues every January – when we witness millions of people embarking on attempts at new diet and fitness habits (an obvious example).

Some schools of thought suggest that developing a new habit takes 28 days … and that’s true – for some people – some of the time!  How long a habit will take to become part of who you are and your daily routine is dependant on far too many factors to be able to say that you WILL take on board a new habit if you at least manage to stick it out for 28 days.

One technique that has proved widely popular and helped many people instill new habits is that known as “Jerry Seinfield’s Productivity Secret”.   You can read more about this technique in Brad Isaac’s post over on the Lifehacker website.

The basic principle lies in having a visual representation of the days you have completed your new habit activity.

You start with a calendar with just a small square for each date.  Every day you complete your habit you put a red X on the square.  In a very short amount of time you will build up a chain of red X’s that you will feel compelled not to break.

As Brad says , “It works because it isn’t the one-shot pushes that get us where we want to go, it is the consistent daily action that builds extraordinary outcomes. You may have heard “inch by inch anything’s a cinch.” Inch by inch does work if you can move an inch every day.”

You can access your own “Don’t Break The Chain” calendar by clicking HERE. This has been created in Excel so that you can amend the start date to whatever day you intend to get started, and you will then have a full year in view from that date.

  • decide on the new habit that you want to develop
  • download your “Don’t Break The Chain” calendar
  • set your start date
  • print it out
  • write your habit at the top of the sheet
  • start marking off those X’s!


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