“You have to motivate yourself with challenges. That’s how you know you’re still alive.”
Jerry Seinfeld has been quoted as saying that his secret to success as a comic was to write every day. To form this habit, Seinfeld motivated himself by using a simple wall calendar. For each day that he accomplished his goal of writing, he marked a big red X over that day. Seinfeld explained the method as follows:
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.
In other words, Seinfeld recognized that daily action was necessary to form a habit. If you truly want to accomplish something, then you need to work on it each day. As each day passes, you build more momentum, you are motivated by that momentum, and the habit becomes easier.
The calendar method is a great idea, but there is better technology out there.
The Lift App
The Lift App is an incredible app that helps you meet your goals and form good habits. With the Lift App, you can:
- Choose from a wide variety of popular goals or create your own.
- Track your progress by checking off goals as you complete them each day.
- Set alerts to remind you to accomplish your goals.
- Receive input from friends and people around the world who are striving toward the same goal.
- Receive visual feedback on your progress and consistency (Seinfeld’s chain method).
Getting the Most from the Lift App
To get the most from the Lift App, I recommend the following:
Never Close the App
Always leave the app open and running in the background of your phone. This will serve as a constant reminder that you still have goals to fulfill. Similarly, you should put the Lift icon in a prominent place on your smartphone so that you can see it whenever you use your phone.
Set Reminders for Last-Chance Opportunities
The reminder feature on Lift is incredibly powerful. You can set reminders for any goal and choose on what day(s) and at which times they should alert you. The reminders themselves are highly motivating—instead of just telling you to do something, it will say something positive like, “REMINDER: Take Vitamins. Today will be a 2 day streak.”
Knowing what time to set the reminders for is important. I recommend setting the reminders for the last possible moment that will enable you to still accomplish your goal. This is a fail-safe approach, “fail-safe” meaning a system that takes effect when something is going wrong or that is there to prevent something from going wrong.
For example, if my goal is to take vitamins, then I will set the reminder for 30 minutes before I typically go to bed, giving me one last solid opportunity to meet this goal if I have forgotten about it.
If my goal is to go to bed at 10:00 p.m., then I will set the reminder for 9:45 p.m. to remind me to fulfill that goal at the most critical time for doing so.
If my goal is to write 250 words per day, then I will set that reminder for 8:30 p.m., which gives me a solid 1.5 hours to write in the event that I have not already done so.
Be Honest and Analyze What Went Wrong
On a few occasions, I failed to meet a particular daily goal despite coming close. I have to admit that I felt tempted to “round up” and hit the check button on the Lift App. I resisted doing that because I realized that this process is larger than just getting a check mark in an app. This is habit formation, and it’s not easy. Analyzing when and how you failed is just as important as succeeding. Keep accurate data, review it to determine what went wrong, and adjust accordingly.
Start with Only a Few Goals
Changing your behavior is a hard thing to do, and attempting too many changes at once can be overwhelming. I recommend starting with a few small habits that are easy to adopt before moving onto more challenging endeavors.
My Current Goals
I really like the Lift App and have made it an integral part of my daily routine. I have subscribed to and have been tracking the following goals:
- Wake up by 5:30am
- Eat 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up
- Eat healthy
- Drink 2 liters of water a day
- Write 250 words
- Take vitamins
- In bed by 10:00pm
I definitely encourage you to download this great app and begin striving toward adopting some life-changing habits. In the words of Pat Riley, “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better,” and the time to start striving is now.