Streaks are one of the best motivators around, and keeping them going doesn’t have to be difficult.
One of the best ways I’ve found to keep momentum is to employ streaks. For instance, as of this writing, I have met my calorie burn goal every day for 1022 days straight. I have exercised for 30 minutes every day for 659 days without fail. I have written at least 20 minutes for 786 days in a row, and I haven’t missed a day of guitar practice for 695 days. Streaks have helped me jump in and get the things I want to accomplish done even on the days I didn’t want to do it.
The power of streaks is not hard to see. Let me ask you a question: no matter how much you struggle with getting a workout in each day, if you were totally invested in working out and hadn’t missed a day in two years, how much more motivated would you be to continue that streak today? That’s the power of streaks.
But… Every Day?
Being so invested in doing the activities you want to do is extremely powerful. Knowing that you’ve done something for 60, 90, or 120 days in a row or more is super motivating. But how do you do it? How can you do something every day? Shouldn’t you take days off?
First of all, if you have some method for a day of relaxation or a Sabbath, feel free not to count this day and exclude it from your streak. However, with the method I use, you may not need to. In fact, with my method it’s not so much about the work but the habit: performing the habit daily is what counts, and the results will simply happen.
It’s All about the Habit
What do I mean? Let’s say you want to always take Saturday or Sunday off. You can do this completely if you wish. However, you can also tailor your habits on those days to not be classified as work.
For instance, you may want to write for a book 20 minutes each day. Why not just write poems for those 20 minutes for fun on Sunday? Perhaps you want to practice guitar 30 minutes a day. Why not just sit out on the porch and strum on Saturday? Maybe you want to work out every weekday. Why not simply take nice walks on the weekends?
It’s one of the tricks I often use. As of this writing I’m on a plane on my way to Atlanta. I had to get up just after 3:00 am to make my flight. Normally I get up at 5:30 am and get on the elliptical almost immediately. (You can bet I’m not getting up at 2:00 am to get my workout in before my flight.) Instead, on days I wake up early for travel, I take a 30-minute walk in the airport or at a time later in the day. This way I keep the streak alive without adding a bunch of stress to my life.
Keeping the Habit Alive
Making streaks a habit will help you get a lot of work done on most days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the habits you built for fun on special days. The habit is what’s important. Overall, this habit, will help you bring strong, consistent work forward that will change your life. These benefits aren’t just for work. You can tailor it to whatever you need in order to enjoy yourself and take time off from work while maintaining the habit.
Adding enjoyment makes the habit more fun. This will make it easier to continue the streak and will help you turn a habit you need to build into a habit you love to do. Simply enjoy the process and find a fun and enjoyable way to stick to the streaks and watch your productivity soar.