Myth: You Can’t Miss a Day When Forming (or Breaking) a Habit
It’s important not to beat yourself up when you miss a routine. With all that most of us have on our plates, it’s nearly impossible to create a habit that you adhere to strictly. I figured out – once I became a mom – that getting it done whenever I could and doing the best I could on any given day worked pretty well. I need to remind myself of that occasionally. It is never an excuse to stop creating the habit worth doing.
Here’s what Thorin Klosowskii posted on this myth.
The “Don’t Break the Chain” productivity method
(widely attributed to Jerry Seinfeld) is wildly popular and the concept is pretty simple: spend some amount of time every day doing an activity, then cross off the day on the calendar when you do it. If you don’t do that task, you miss crossing out your calendar and the chain is broken. Of course, Seinfeld isn’t the only person to come up with this concept. It’s a persistent myth that in order to form a habit, you need to do it every day (or at least on a schedule) without ever missing a day.
The good news comes from the same study
, published in European Journal of Social Psychology, that debunked the 21 days myth. It turns out that missing a day occasionally didn’t affect the habit formation process. Repetition of behavior
is important, but you don’t need to beat yourself up just for missing a day occasionally. That doesn’t mean this method isn’t useful, though. Tracking progress is good, just don’t let missing a day destroy your self-esteem.