When it comes to doing or starting something, let’s address the elephant in the room straight away: people are lazy. Most of us would rather do the easy, familiar thing rather than the challenging, potentially rewarding thing. We procrastinate on our tasks, goals and dreams.
The thing we should do could be finishing an assignment, sorting out photos for grandma, doing the washing up, hitting the gym, anything. We’ve heard it all before: I’ll do it tomorrow, I’m too tired to do it now, I’ll just watch an episode of Z Nation first and then do it. Of course, we never start, or we start but quickly quit. In the end, it never gets done.
I’m like that — and so are you, your next door neighbour and your dog.
But, wait! We can rejoice because there is a way to overcome this! There are three steps to actually accomplishing all this stuff you’re talking about doing.
1. Knowing how to draw a big X.
2. Trusting in the big X.
3. Using a bit of willpower.
The Seinfeld Method
I’m sure you’ve heard of Jerry Seinfeld. If you haven’t, let me fill you in: he’s one of the most successful comedians of all time. He co-wrote the stupidly successful sitcom Seinfeld and is currently pulling in about $57 million a year. He’s been the highest paid comedian in the world for umpteen years in a row.
He adopted a technique, which became known as the Seinfeld Method, at the beginning of his career. This technique propelled him to mega-success and has helped a crap ton of people all over the world.
People everywhere are smashing procrastination in the face.
What is this face smashing method?
At its core, it’s quite simple: you buy a big wall calendar with all the months and days printed on it. Then when you do “the thing you should do”, you write a big X on that day.
The next day when you do it again, you put another X. After several days, you’ll notice a chain of Xs. Now you’ve started the journey of never wanting to break the X chain.
It’s not about how hard you work, how long you work or whether the work you’re doing is even any good. It’s simply about not breaking the chain of Xs.
It’s how the most successful comedian of all time became the most successful comedian of all time
Jerry Seinfeld said this about his success
I’m paraphrasing but it’s essentially this: I wrote everyday, whether it was amazing or not so amazing. Each day I got to put a big red X on the calendar. At first it was funny, but soon the chain got bigger and I didn’t want to break it.
The mere act of writing every day made him a household name in the comedy world. He wrote and wrote and got better and better. The same would happen to you with whatever you wanted to start or improve. You just need to do it everyday.
My experience with the Seinfeld Method
If you’ve read my previous posts you know that I’ve started going to the gym and I want to learn Chinese. I immediately adopted this method with the gym, and it works. Boy oh boy, it works. I’ll do anything not to break that chain. My longest was 10 Xs in a row. I did break it once, when I was traveling all day. Hey, I’m new at this! I hope my next chain will be even longer.
Yesterday, I had a huge day. It was massive! However, I still managed to put a big X on the calendar. In the morning, I got my scooter fixed, then I had a Chinese lesson (that I’d forgotten about, which disrupted my whole schedule), then I had lunch and got ready for work. I went to work and got back home at 9.30pm. I went to the gym, then got home again at 11pm, had dinner, chilled out for a bit then went to bed.
I guarantee you that if I wasn’t doing this method, I would never in a million years have gone to the gym after work. I felt so guilty in the morning when I missed my regular gym time because of my forgotten Chinese lesson. But the Xs! I didn’t want to let myself down. I had no excuses not to go to the gym (except not being assed), so I went.
THIS METHOD MOTIVATES YOU AND PUTS YOUR EXCUSES INTO PERSPECTIVE
Soon, it’ll become a habit
A great by-product of this method is building habits. Habits are just things you repeat over and over, until you get to the point where it becomes second nature and it feels weird not to do it.
I can feel that happening with the gym, hence my guilt and mild anxiety for not going at my regular time.
once you’re in “habit stage”, you’re set, because habits are extremely hard to break
Try it yourself
The best way to know for sure is to try it for yourself, even if it’s just for a silly experiment.
what have you got to lose?
Take a look at my self development page for tons of other posts about bettering yourself in a million and one ways.