Have you ever really wanted to introduce a new habit or behaviour in to your life that would bring you closer to your goals, only to find that it rarely sticks?
This is a fitness related blog so we'll use examples like getting stronger and going to the gym.
Let's say "Tom" wants to get a bit stronger and decides he needs to go to the gym 3+ times a week. Things start off well, first few sessions are great and then the soreness hits and he's got to take a week off to recover because he got excited and went a bit too hard.
That week off turns in to a bit more time and all of a sudden he's well behind on his plans and silently decides to give it up for a bit.
This is super common, I've been Tom plenty of times before, and that's why we need a better method for sticking to new habits and behaviours. Enter the 'two day rule'.
Now, this is no band-aid or quick fix, but a simple solution that can make a big difference your ability to achieve a goal. It has been practiced and acknowledged by some of the world's highest performers from athletes to authors and comedians, and now many successful filmmakers and Youtubers are even getting on board with it.
Let's Start With The Legend of Jerry Seinfeld's Calendar
I first heard about the concept of the two day rule in a writers blog a few years ago who told a story about Jerry Seinfeld, after he had already enjoyed a lot of career success.
Jerry was back in a comedy club one night testing some new material when another comic simply asked what it was that separated him from the pack, his answer was a good one.
Seinfeld said that for a long time he had a big calendar on his wall and a red marker.
For every day he wrote material for his act, he marked the day with a large red 'X' on his calendar.
Once he had strung a couple of days together it became a competition with himself to not break the chain of 'X's that he had accrued.
This game he had with himself created accountability and kept him consistent with a habit that he attributed to making him successful.
As simple as that. Whilst he felt some other comics were waiting for inspiration for their material, or going with an all or nothing approach, Seinfeld was busy trying to make jokes every day. This is a pretty solid version of what is now referred to as the two day rule in practice.
The Two Day Rule
The two day rule is essentially not letting yourself have two consecutive days off from following through with a habit. It's an achievable challenge that gives you breathing room and accountability, along with a helpful visual aid.
Obviously there are going to be things that occur that are completely out of your control that may stop you from achieving such goals, like sickness, family events and so on, but that's an opportunity to reflect and refine your process and start another chain.
I love this method. Nothing bad happens if you miss a day, you haven't failed and you're not likely to 'throw the baby out with the bathwater' and forget the habit altogether.
Instead you get a chance to decide for yourself that the next best thing I can do for myself is to start again tomorrow.
Matt D'Avella put it well in his video on the topic, "Our brains are really good at thinking and really bad at remembering, which is why we easily get excited about starting a new habit but just as easily forget to do it".
It's because of this that the two day rule works. It allows us to be humans, to make mistakes and to learn from them, without everything crashing down immediately.
Consistency is King
We all know that to get good at something we need to practice it often, meaning we prioritise doing little and often over the long haul. The two day rule allows us to do this.
It gives us an opportunity to improve our consistency, which improves the overall volume and time spent practicing our chosen habit or behaviour.
If we have aligned our goals and our habits correctly, more time spent executing our habits will mean we are getting closer and closer to achieving our goals.
This can be applied directly to our diet. If we focus on routinely executing habits and behaviours we have identified as helpful to creating (and sustaining) a balanced diet, we are more likely to achieve our overall health and fitness goals!
- The Two Day Rule is simply not allowing yourself to have two or more days off from following through with a particular habit or behaviour.
- A visual aid, like a calendar to mark, can be particularly helpful.
- This applies to absolutely any habit or behaviour you are trying to introduce, including those around your diet!
Thank you for reading, like always please feel free to share this around if you know someone who might benefit from it. If you have any questions about the 2 day rule or about Nutrition Plus, reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd be happy to help!