The Motivating Power Of a Fitness Chain

I’ll never forget staring out of our bedroom window at a very dreary landscape. It was cold and rainy…exactly the kind of weather I hate. Eight months earlier I made a commitment to reach 20,000 steps on my Fitbit every day. 

But, on this gray and wet day I profoundly wished I had not made that commitment. Yet, I bundled up and headed outside to reach my goal.

Was my personal goal the motivation to get outside? No. Was it the promise I made to myself? Nope! Was it my deeper “why” to age well? Not even close!

What pushed me to walk in weather I did NOT like and reach my goal was simply this:

I didn’t want to break the chain.


Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most successful comedian’s ever. Early in his career Jerry made a commitment to write at least one joke every day. He hung a calendar on the wall and would mark a big “X” on that day’s square once he had written the joke.

It didn’t matter how good the joke was or if it ever made it into one of his routines, the goal was to write at least one joke a day. With each day, Jerry was building a chain. The motivation to write (which is HARD) was simply to not break the chain.


The foundation of this “Chain Strategy” is to have a daily goal that is sustainable. These are the links of a fitness chain. Each day you reach the goal is another link added to the chain.

The goal can’t be too hard. For me, 20,000 steps was not hard when I started my chain because I had worked up to reaching that level most days. It took almost five years of consistent walking to get there.

At the same time, the goal must be challenging enough to be meaningful. There were days, like that cold and rainy November day, that reaching my 20,000 step goal was a challenge. That makes the chain meaningful and valuable. You don’t want to break a chain that was hard to build.


What goal can you set that is both sustainable and challenging? Perhaps it’s a certain number of steps every day? Maybe it’s a walk outside for 10, 20, or 30 minutes. Set a goal that feels reachable most days, but will also require some extra effort on challenging days.

You could even start building your chain by committing to taking a daily ten-minute walk as you listen to the Walking is Fitness podcast. This is a podcast I record during the first ten-minutes of my walk every morning. I’m buying a daily chain too. 

You can find Walking is Fitness wherever you get your favorite podcasts or listen through this website HERE.


As your fitness chain continues to grow with new links added every day, you’ll find it becomes an ever stronger motivator. On those days when you just don’t feel like it you’ll find yourself doing it simply because you won’t want to break the chain…and, that’s a good thing.

Start building your fitness chain today!


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