Don't Break The Chain:
Don't wait until January 1st to start a habit! This generator will start
your calendar on any day of the year, of any year.
Printable Calendar Generator
What is Don't Break The Chain?
Started by (or often credited to) Jerry Seinfeld, "Don't Break The Chain" is a motivational tool you can use to help form a new habit or develop a new skill. Simply make a goal for yourself, and every day you meet your goal, mark that day out on a calendar with an X. After a few days, you'll get a nice chain going.
The idea is to not break your chain.
This beautifully simple mental trick works astonishingly well. Looking at your past accomplishments provides motivation, and keeps you focused on the present. It removes the daily decisions you subconsciously make: do I have time? do I feel like it? should I bother today? Just do it! Make it part of your routine.
Learning a new skill can take years. You want to to avoid dwelling on the future, since it's demotivating to think of having to do something for the rest of your life. Instead, take things one day at a time, taking motivation from your past accomplishments.
What can I use Don't Break The Chain for?
Any habit you want to form or skill you want to teach yourself, where you can practice a little bit each day. Some examples:
- Music / Practicing an instrument
- Learning a language
How do I use Don't Break The Chain effectively? What kind of goals should I set?
The idea is to do something each day. Set a realistic goal. Something you can do even on days when you're busy, or don't feel like it, or are out of ideas.
If you're writing, your goal could be to write something each day, anything. If you're drawing, do at least one sketch. For exercise, just make it to the gym and do 5 minutes of something. Your real goal is to form and keep a habit, and to keep your mind engaged with your activity. Simply engaging your mind to your activity each day does wonders.
Of course some days you can and should do more—you should try to push yourself—but by setting a goal you can do each day, you keep the habit, which is the most important aspect of Don't Break The Chain.
You can't practice something every day and not get better.
What's different about this calendar?
Regular calendars are fine, and there are lots of great printable Don't Break The Chain calendars out there. This calendar exists because starting a habit late in the year has a problem: The calendar will forever remain blank up until the day you decided to start your new habit. That blank block can be demotivating.
So let's create a calendar that starts today! Make today the first day of your chain! Print a calendar that has today right at the top, and then don't stop!
Why not use an online calendar or phone app?
You absolutely can! If you find an online or phone app more convenient, then go for it. It's all about finding what works best for you. For me, having a physical piece of paper to mark off the days is more fun, in a way, and adds just a little extra motivation.
Can I ever take a day off?
Don't Break The Chain is a tool you can use for motivation, but ultimately, you make your own rules. Sometimes you may find yourself burnt out, and the best thing is to take a day or weekend break. If you feel yourself getting burnt out, and you feel taking a day off is the best way to help, by all means do so.
Make your own rules, but also remember to re-examine your rules periodically to decide whether they're working.
What about taking weekends off?
You make your own rules, and if that's the goal you want to set, by all means. Personally, I feel that creative skills benefit from practice every day, including weekends, since you keep your brain engaged. For physical goals such as exercise, it's good to have recovery days anyways and taking weekends off may work better in some schedules or routines.
Got any more resources?
Wonderful description of the technique, and another printable calendar design.
Another printable calendar. I loved the design of this calendar, so ours is formatted similarly.
Advanced OptionsGenerate arbitrary calendars with this form (maybe you started your habit last week?):
Source Code on Github