In the world of personal development, habit building is often symbolized by a chain. Each link represents a day in practicing the new habit. The goal is very simple, don’t break the chain. But, what purpose does an unbroken chain really serve in the big scheme of habit building?
The Science Behind Consisteny:
Our brains are actually hardwired to recognize patters and establish pathways based on things that we do repeatedly. When we adopt a habit and we practice it consistently, we will reinforce these pathways, making the habit easier and more automatic over time. I have often likened this topic to animals walking in the forest. Many times animals will walk the same paths to get to water or food. Over time these “game trails” will become noticeable because they will be well-trodden paths that exist in the forest. The more the animals walk the path the clearer and more defined it is.
When we have unbroken chains in our habit building, it isn’t just building those pathways in our brains, it is also helping us to build momentum. Every single day that you stick to your habit, is asmall victory and a head nod to your commitment to be better and do better. When you have that popsitive feedback loop in your brain, it releases dopamine, you know, that ‘feel good’ drug in our bodies. When we continue this day in and day out and add another link to the chain, the momentum and the motivation will continue to grow stronger.
Visual Tracking – Seeing is Believing:
Even with the best intentions, sometimes life can interupt our plans. This is where habit tracking plays such an important role. It is the accountability. When we keep an accurate record of our habit-building journey, we can easliy identify those patterns, triggers, obstacles, and bumps in the road we may or may not have planned for. There will be many things that challenge our consistency, and having these insights can help us to proactively adjust our strategies so that we can continue on the path to building a strong, consistent habit.
Bouncing Back from Breaks:
What happens when despite our best efforts, we have a day where the chain breaks? Instead of looking at it as a failure, we need to treat it as part of the journey and bounce right back. The aim isn’t perfection, the aim is progress! An occasional break in the chain doesn’t eliminate the entire chain and the progress you have made do far. What is important is the ability to give space in your mind for the break, acknowledge that it happened, understand why it happened, and then bounce back with a renewed view on what needs to be done.
The power of an unbroken chain lies in the act of repetition and the belief that it builds in you. Unbroken chains are a testament to your commitment to reaching your goals. It shows your resilience, and your desire to grow. Jerry Seinfeld once quoted, “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.”
So, as you lean into your habit building journey, remember, the chain your are building is more than just a visual representation, it is a symbol and your personal determination, your progress and the power of consistency!