When software developer Brad Isaac asked Jerry Seinfeld, who in those days was still a touring comic, what his secret was, he advised Isaac to pick up one of those wall calendars that had the entire year on a single page. To Seinfeld, becoming a better comedian meant writing every day, so each day Jerry worked on his writing, he would put a big red X in the box for that day. Pretty soon, there’d be a chain of red XXXXXs and not breaking the chain became its own motivation.
There are moments when, caught up in the mental resistance that keeps us from getting started, we forget just how enjoyable the act of doing really is. When you’ve finally started and you’re engaged in the work, you think “hey, I kind of like this.” What I love about the Seinfeld calendar is that it lets you channel your stubbornness and redirect it from not starting into not missing your reps.
Jack Cheng, 30 Minutes a Day: A Memory Schedule [PDF] Pimsleur’s article in the Modern Language Journal (1967).