Let’s go streaking…
I always chuckle when one of my friends posts on Facebook that she’s going topless… meaning she and the convertible are headed out for a spin.
But this week it’s my turn to be provocative—streaking for seven straight days of flute practice and journaling. Turns out my music teachers were right about the whole practice thing… and my writing buddies all know the benefits of stacking consecutive days of progress.
What was the biggest surprise to me was learning about an obsessive new behavior for Snapchat streaks… which is kind of like a Pac-Man style leaderboard on which you rack up emojis and points for “snapping” with your friends and having them “snap back” daily.
I loved this Pete Brown article in which he talks about how the threat of taking away his daughter’s phone for bad behavior is now the most powerful leverage he’s had since the days of threatening to call Santa. No one wants to be the one to “break the streak”… seeing those days add up.
Jerry Seinfeld once shared his joke-writing strategy with a young comedian – post a big wall calendar where you can see it, and every day that you write, you get to draw a big red X through it. When you see that chain growing, you’ll like it. “Your only job is not to break the chain.”
I can personally attest to the power of winning streaks like this one… I’m 44 days in a row of studying Greek with my Duolingo app, and I don’t want to fall off the leaderboard to someone named “
Winning streaks make you feel great. They motivate you to continue.
But here’s the bigass danger…
What happens to your motivation the day after you break the chain?
A year ago I was rockin’ and rollin’ those Duolingo streaks: 22 days, 40 days, 54 days.
But one night I forgot to get my lessons in (probably because I was up late posting my blog for Sunday morning), and that winning streak was b-r-o-k-e-n.
How did I bounce back? Did I jump back on there the next day and start over? Did I dig my heels in deeper with even better resolve to see and feel progress?
Heck no! I took it as a sign from the universe that I was meant to focus on other things for a while. In fact my streak of NOT studying Greek went on for twice as long as the good habit I let dissolve.
So I’m here today to absolve you from any guilt about broken streaks, or slightly missed deadlines (or bad hair days after you’ve gone topless at 65 mph).
The important thing is not the number. It’s not the chain. It’s not the leaderboard.
It’s what you learned, or created, or accomplished.
And it will be there for you to build on tomorrow and the next day.
This weekend I’m celebrating THREE YEARS of weekly blogging. You can catch up on all the old caustic wit and grumpy-cat memes at yotbpress.com/blog.
True to form… Mr. Bradbury was right…
It’s time to start your winning streak… just remember that you’re a
winner as long as you keep showing up! It’s not necessary to win every
single day in order to win the year!