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How to Start a New Habit (with a FREE printable!)

Education- How to Start a New Habit, free printable, Jerry Seinfeld method, printables, routines, habits, discipline, productivity, schedule, form a new habit, build a habit

I’ve been thinking a lot about habits lately. It’s amazing how many things in my life that I do, simply because they’re habits.

When I have a few minutes of downtime, I have a habit of picking up my phone and scrolling through social media. (Maybe that’s not such a good habit… 😉 ) I have the same shake for breakfast each morning, mostly out of habit. I drive a certain way to my son’s school, even though there’s another way that might be a little bit quicker, just because it’s a habit.

Whether good or bad, habits and routines tend to make up a large part of my day, so it’s important to make sure I have good systems in place. And I thought I did…

And then summer started! 

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE having my boys home and getting to spend more time with them, but somehow when school ended, all habits and routines seemed to go out the window and chaos ensued!

How to Start a New Habit

I don’t do well without structure, so I recently sat down to reevaluate, prioritize, and try to start forming some new habits in the process. And as I usually do when I start to get organized, I made a simple little printable to help me.

Education- How to Start a New Habit, free printable, Jerry Seinfeld method, printables, routines, habits, discipline, productivity, schedule, form a new habit, build a habit

This printable is loosely based on the “Jerry Seinfeld method” of developing a new habit. In a nutshell, his method is to grab a calendar (or pretty printable in my case) and simply put an X on the days where you’ve completed the new habit that you’re trying to form.

Once you have a small string of Xs on your chart, your only goal is to not break the chain. Just one more X. That’s all you need to focus on. And soon five Xs become 10, 10 become 20, 20 become 40, and you’re well on your way to crushing that new habit.

Education- How to Start a New Habit, free printable, Jerry Seinfeld method, printables, routines, habits, discipline, productivity, schedule, form a new habit, build a habit

I recently heard James Clear speak at the Craft + Commerce conference, and he added a little extra tidbit to the Seinfeld method: try not to have two missed Xs in a row.

Life happens! Sometimes we just get busy and we’re unable to complete whatever habit it is that we’re trying to build. And on those days we need to give ourselves grace, but the next day, we need to show up once again and add another X to our chart.

Education- How to Start a New Habit, free printable, Jerry Seinfeld method, printables, routines, habits, discipline, productivity, schedule, form a new habit, build a habit

Click here to download the FREE “Start a New Habit” printable!

[And to see all 200+ pages of free printables we offer on the blog, head to our free printables library!]

This method is so incredibly simple, but I’ve found that it’s often the simplest things that are the most effective!

So whether it’s starting to exercise, reading or writing each day, or simply getting out of bed by a certain time, snag one of these printables, put it somewhere that you’ll see it everyday, and start making those Xs! When you’re settled into that new habit that you’ve been meaning to start forever, you’ll be thanking yourself that you started with that first little X!

Looking for more tips and ideas for improving your habits? These posts may help:

10 Simple Habits that Will Help You Stay Organized

Free Printable Habit Tracker

How to Start a New Habit Even If You’ve Failed at It Before

Do you have any tips or tricks for starting a new habit? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Have a wonderful day!

Abby Lawson, Just a Girl and Her Blog

39 Comments

  1. Crystal @ The Frugal Sisters says:

    This is really interesting! And it does seem pretty simple, I have never heard of the “Jerry Seinfeld method.” I’m going to have to give it a try. I’m also a person of habits and routines and if my routines get messed up it gives me a lot of anxiety! Thanks for the tips!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hope it’s helpful for you, Crystal! Happy Thursday! <3

      ~Abby =)

  2. YOU MUST read “The Power of Habit” – it’s an AMAZING and engaging resource that’s very inspiring!
    THANKS FOR A GREAT BLOG!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Ooh I’ll have to check it out! Thanks so much for the recommendation, Leba!

      ~Abby =)

    2. I second the recommendation, great book on how to develop good habits and break bad ones.

  3. Patricia Hidalgo says:

    Love this post! I’m a big fan of written goals, so what about adding a little reminder or incentive at the top of the page – for example if you want to work out, “Bikini-ready for Bahamas vacation 7.28.2017!!” or if you want to quit gnawing on your nails, “Ten X’s = mani pedi with sister!” Every time you X off a day, you get the satisfaction of being that much closer to your goal!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      That would be a great idea to write that on the top of the page… love it!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Cory @ Growing Dollars From Cents.com says:

    Woohoo! Free printable hahaha.

    I need to get in the habit of noting tasks down on a schedule so that I stay focused on what I have to do. Sometimes I forget what I planned to do one day then I have to do it another day when I already have a lot of stuff going on.

    Hopefully, this will help. Thanks Abby!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hope it works for you, Cory! Have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  5. Good morning,

    I saw you mentioned on the Huffington Post and wanted to give you a virtual high five in congratulating you or building your business faithfully from the ground floor up. As an affiliate marketer and content producer, I know the struggle associated with being a small operation and having to create content independently not resorting to PPC advertising. It is rough building from the ground floor up because blogging is no get rich quick overnight operation and requires anyone who’s looking to make money online full-time from their blog to “play the game of patience.” Keep doing what you’re doing as you’re doing a fantastic job. 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks, Drew! Have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! So glad it will be helpful for you, Caitlyn! <3

      ~Abby =)

  6. Catherine says:

    Interesting tactic! I’m a Seinfeld fan but I don’t remember this one 🙂 This could come in handy with many things.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      It has worked well for me… I hope it will be helpful for you, too! 🙂 Happy Wednesday!

      ~Abby =)

  7. Love this! Thank you so much!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful, Kim! Happy Wednesday! <3

      ~Abby =)

  8. Jessica Orika says:

    Thanks Abby! I do have an issue with procrastination and I’m trying to form a new habit that cancels that out. I’ll be sure to give this a try.
    Hopefully, it will help. Thank you!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, I hope it will be helpful for you, Jessica! Procrastination can be a big struggle for me, too!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Anne from weird hacks says:

    I am trying to form a habit of working out at least three times in a week. I used to work out last year, but I fell off the bandwagon after losing my job and learning I had HIV. It really isn’t easy getting up in the morning, especially when your mind tells you to ‘sleep for one more minute.’

    Thank for the printable, I will download it and keep you updated on the process.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I hope the printable will be helpful for you, Anne! I’m so sorry to hear about your illness… sending so many hugs and prayers your way! <3

      ~Abby =)

  10. Kaitlynn Marie says:

    I need to start a few new habits! This is cute, and I think it will really help! Thanks for the freebie 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! Glad it will be helpful, Kaitlynn! Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  11. Ok, I printed it off. Thanks so much. I want to read my Bible every day and exercise in some form each day. It is amazing how busy our days can get. I’m retired and my children are on their own. Even the grandchildren are getting older yet I stay so busy. (Which is a good thing.) Even if I can’t get to the rec center I can put on some music and dance around in the sunroom or get my weights out and do some arm lifts. This will hold me accountable for both. I’ll use different colors to distinguish between the two. Thanks again for this neat little sheet.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, good! Glad it will be useful for you, Eleanor! I love the idea of dancing around the room for your workout… I’m gonna try that! 🙂 Have a wonderful day!

      ~Abby =)

  12. Anne from Weird Hacks says:

    I downloaded the planner yesterday and got in my first workout today??. Hopefully, I keep this as a habit.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Woohoo! You go girl!

      ~Abby =)

  13. Accountability is my biggest struggle when it comes to creating new habits. This printable is a great way to hold ourselves accountable! Thanks for sharing!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Accountability is huge, I agree! So glad it will be helpful for you, Amy. Hope you’re having a wonderful week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  14. Oh my gosh I can’t believe how fortuitous this post is. I was literally JUST thinking about writing a post on the habit of habits. I’m the same way, I park in the same spot every day, use the same bathroom stall, have the same two glasses of wine every night. I keep thinking, if only I could put this towards a good cause haha! Thank youL)

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, yay! So glad it will be helpful for you, Jennifer! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  15. Thanks Abby for such a helpful printable. Deciding on which habit I wanna start with is the hardest part! Loved your post – I’ve always failed at the Jerry Seinfeld method. Pretty Printables to the rescue!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Pretty printables solve everything, right? haha Hope you’re having an awesome week, Lynne! <3

      ~Abby =)

  16. Alix @A Hedgehog in the Kitchen says:

    I love this Abby! Thank you!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Alix! Have a great day!

      ~Abby =)

  17. Funda Yaren Özaydın says:

    Abby! You are great. Recently, I have been looking for some original ideas for planning and organizing my life. And today while ı was surfing on pinterest, ı saw your fitness tracker. And ı registered it immediately. Now ı am a member. I really loved your all ideas. Thank you very much. I wish you a happy life with your family. ❤️

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words, Funda! I hope the tracker will be helpful! Have a wonderful day!

      ~Abby =)

  18. Karen Hobson says:

    I’m happy that you’ve hit 60 days of Bible Reading. I haven’t been that faithful to it. I read Proverbs in January and started Psalms in February – and now into March. I’m currently on chapter 50 or thereabout but got about 100 more to go. I need to get busy and make this my priority every single night. Keep me accountable PLEASE!!!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw it can definitely be hard as life gets busy sometimes! You can do it, Karen! 🙂 Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

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