I use the Done App on my phone to track several “streaks.” I try to read and write every day, maintain an exercise streak, and drink eight glasses of water each day. I tap on the bar and add activity to maintain my daily streak.
While maintaining a streak can be a powerful motivator to build a positive habit, the streak at some point can turn into a burden. You may find that the streak no longer serves you, but rather you come to serve the streak.
If you feel like the streak is hanging over you instead of motivating you, then it might be time to break a streak in order to start a new one. Breaking a streak can sometimes serve as a needed mental respite. I recently had a writing streak that had stretched well over a year. As it ballooned past 540 days, I felt like I was often writing just before I went to bed just to keep the streak going. I certainly wasn’t enjoying the writing I was forcing myself to do simply to maintain the number.
After a particularly busy Saturday, I came home and made the decision to intentionally break the streak. I decided not to write that day, or the following day. I sat back down on Monday morning inspired to write again.
Breaking the streak gave me the chance to start a new one. While building a streak can be a great way to motivate yourself, strike a balance and make sure it doesn’t become a burden.
WARNING: Once you break the streak once, it can become hard to gain momentum again. You’ll surely amass a couple of days toward your streak but lose motivation. At some point, you’ll say to yourself, I only have a streak of three days, I can easily break the streak again and start over. So be mindful that when you break your streak intentionally, you’ll need to work that much harder to begin and continue the new streak.