My longest streak lasted 428 days. I did Holosync for 428 days straight and then it ended. It was a deliberate end. I didn’t just “forget.” I ordered what I thought was the next level (Level 3) and when I opened the box, they had sent me just the intro cd. My reaction was: WTF???!!
I was headed out the door to a training, and I didn’t have time to call and straighten out the mistake before I left, so I just said, “Fuck it,” left the cd home, got in my car and drove to King of Prussia. That night I did not do Holosync for the first time in well over a year.
I didn’t die. I wasn’t even that upset. A few days later I took up with it again, but it has never become an “everyday” thing since. I still do it, but only when I need to, or want to. It’s not a “streak thing” anymore.
I have maintained shorter streaks of 100 days or more with the writing, and I must say I have been sad and disappointed when those streaks ended. Most of the time I just forgot, or I let a vacation or some other distracting “life event” get in the way.
There is often be a big letdown when a streak ends. It’s hard to describe the feeling. “Crestfallen” is a good word. Sometimes you don’t even decide to break it, you just forget. You take your eye off it for one second and boom, it’s the next day and you forgot to do your “thing”and your streak is over, done, caput.
One way of dealing with this is to deny it, pretend it didn’t happen and soldier on, but that’s a lie, and you can’t sustain that.
Another way is to just forgive yourself, but that’s really hard. If it was a private streak that nobody but you or one other person knew about, it’s a little easier to deal with than if it was a big, public, Facebook-y kind of streak.
The galling part of failing to sustain your streak in front of a lot of people is the feeling that they were expecting it, maybe even hoping for it. There’s this concept called the “negativity bias” which means that people are more interested and attracted to bad news than good news, and more apt to read (and dig) stories of failure than success.
For some reason, people like to see other people fail. I think what they really want to see is not that you fail, but what you do after you fail. Because that’s the problem we all want to know how to fix, right? We want to know what to do when we mess up.
That’s because we all mess up. Most of us don’t succeed. Most of us don’t rise up after failure. Most of us make excuses, or we hide, or we slink into a corner and obsessively lick our wounds.
So when you break a long streak, this is where life gets really, really interesting.
When your streak ends, here’s what I think you should do:
1. Admit to yourself, and to anyone who is interested and has been following your streak, that it’s over. Your Jenga Blocks are in a heap on the floor, your Pop Beads are rolling off in all directions, your spinning plates are in a million shards on the linoleum. It’s O.V.E.R.
2. Spend 24 Hours in deep mourning. Cry. Journal. Beat yourself up. You deserve it. Wallow. Self-flagellate. Really get into it. Have a big-ass pity party.
3. After 24 hours the mourning is DONE. Never mourn longer than 24 hours, then NEVER LOOK BACK.
4. You must never talk about your old streak again. Ever. It’s OVER. Nobody cares that 2 years ago you wrote every day for 6 months. Nobody.
5. Decide if your dead streak is something you want, or need, to begin again. Did it end because it exhausted its function or purpose? Was it, like Holosync was for me, something you “got” and there was no reason to obsessively continue with it. Was its function in your life finished? When you get the message, it’s really okay to hang up the phone.
6. Maybe there is something else you’d rather streak. If so, let the new thing germinate for 10 days and then start it.
7. If your dead streak was just an accident, a momentary loss of focus, start over the next day, but call it DAY ONE. Be honest. You’re starting over. It sucks, but it’s true.
A streak is something built on the platform of time, and more specifically, duration over time. But you can only streak one day at a time. The only day that really counts is this day. And after this day is over, you simply file it, and move on to the next day.
And that’s how you build a streak. And that’s how you build a life.