Streak your way to success
Maybe you’ve got a rockin’ body and doing a full nudie run through your office will get you that promo. But when I say “streak your way to success” that’s not the kind of streak I’m talking about. Although, hey, if it works for you, I ain’t gonna hold you back!
I’m talking about a streak of consecutive wins. A winning streak.
The small things we do every day can lead to bigger results than the big things we do once in a while. It’s all about training your brain to recognise what you’re doing as “normal”.
You clean your teeth everyday right? Things start to feel a little furry if you skip this task. Maybe you have days where you’re so tired you think about skipping it, but usually you’ll still do it anyway. Even if it’s a half-arsed effort. And even if you do skip it, I bet you’re unlikely to skip it twice in a row.
This is how it can be with any good habit you want to build. It can sometimes be easier to do something EVERY FREAKIN’ DAY than it is to do it three times a week or once a week. Because it becomes part of your daily routine, and because you quickly start to see a winning streak. And nobody likes to break a winning streak.
Tracking my winning streak was the most effective tool I used when I quit smoking. I literally gave myself a gold star on the calendar for every day that I didn’t smoke, and it started to look so pretty and sparkly… As much as I wanted to head-butt someone (thank you nicotine withdrawals), I was motivated by the streak of sparkles on my calendar. Plus it was on my wall for everyone else to see as well, so I didn’t want to have a gap in the stars.
Some suggested rules for streaking:
Keep your clothes on
(unless the habit you’re building involves sex or showering, then I guess you can ignore this rule).
Set yourself an achievable minimum accepted “win”.
For example, if your goal is to write everyday, set a minimum word count of 50 words. If the goal is to run everyday, make the minimum 1km or 10 minutes of running. This way, even on days when everything is against you, it’s still achievable to keep your streak going. You can also get the minimum over and done with first thing in the morning and then anything else you do that day is a bonus.
Set yourself a daily target.
Maybe the target is to write 500 words a day or to run 3km every day. If you get there, great. But if you don’t, that’s okay – as long as you’ve achieved the minimum it’s still a win. The daily target might even be something that you need to work up to over time.
Track your streak.
Having visual proof of your streak is motivating and a great daily reminder. As I mentioned before, I used gold stars on a calendar to track my progress when I quit smoking.
Never miss two in a row.
The goal here is to keep the streak going without a break. But of course there might be days when it just doesn’t happen. You’ve got the flu, or you’re on a 15 hour flight, or you just simply can’t be effed. The idea of streaking is that you make the minimum win achievable even in these sorts of circumstances, but I know sometimes it might just not happen. Don’t quit altogether just coz you missed a day. Get straight back into it the following day and keep going. Just don’t allow yourself to miss two days in a row because that’s when it gets really hard to get back into it.
Set an end date (optional).
Depending on the goal or the habit, you might want to set an end date or a target date. This way you can choose at that time to stop if you want. The end then isn’t determined by you ‘falling off the wagon’ so to speak. And it gives you the power to choose if you want to continue, change it up, or just stop altogether. It might also help you to not get too obsessive about the habit if you know it’s only going to be daily for a certain amount of time.
Get freakin’ streakin’!
What types of habits could you try streaking?
- Drinking water
- Spending time outdoors
- Making your bed
- Reaching out to potential new clients
- Contacting a friend each day
- Going to bed with a clean kitchen
You could also try streaking for quitting a habit, of course!
Let me know what you’ve tried streaking for and if it worked for you.