On the unreasonable effectiveness of streak tracking

I hate to admit it, but my longest ever streak of consecutive days of meditation was largely owed to Oak (an app) tracking that number. The light accountability of knowing it would reset back to zero if I stopped was enough to keep me going.

A friend recently introduced me to an app called “Streaks”, which is a similar concept, but will track streaks for any arbitrarily defined habit. And once again, it kills me to say it, but it’s working. Good habits through conscious thought are too hard, but a carnal instinct at the bottom of my mind that likes to see numbers go up does the trick.

I’m still having trouble with some of the taller orders (e.g. I’d love to lock in a 5 km+ run every single day – still very much WIP), but having amazing luck especially with the smaller ones. I’d previously hit a plateau with WaniKani wherein I was finishing all my 200+ reviews every day, but was left with no motivation to do new lessons. I started using Streaks, arbitrarily defined WaniKani “progress” as at least 10 new lessons per day, and am now pushing a 32-day run 1. I’m pretty good about doing daily calisthentics, but in the back half of 2021 had developed a bad habit of skipping them ~3 times a week. With streak tracking, I’m back up to 7 days a week.

Some people are able to maintain good habits through nothing more a sense of internal motivation and a disciplined state of mind. I’m not one of them. In case you’re not either, then streak tracking might be a help to you.

Screenshot of Streams.
Screenshot of Streams.

1 On track to hit level 60 in the first half of 2023. Much longer than the recommended year, but I’ll take it.

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On the unreasonable effectiveness of streak tracking

Published
December 5, 2021

Find me on Twitter at @brandur.

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