Okay boys and girls, quiz time.
What is a streak?
A: A streak is the distance you can run naked in a public place before you’re arrested.
B: A streak is the length of time you can do something before you miss.
I have never actually streaked in the “A” definition, though my roommate in college did; and like you I’ve giggled through TV highlights of random men jiggling their junk across major league playing fields.
I’m not really into public exhibitionism, but I love to streak in the “B” definition.
I like to set up personalized games for myself where I try to do something for as many days-in-a-row as I can.
To see if I can.
To test my persistence and stamina.
To see if I can keep a promise to myself.
It’s nothing more than a habit-building game. You pick a thing, you set the rules, and then you see how long you can last. It’s like when you were a kid and tried to see how long you could hold your breath under water.
Or how long you could jump rope without missing.
Or shoot foul shots.
You make-up the streak thing and you set the rules about what counts and what doesn’t. Every day? Or a certain number of days? For how long each time?
Here are My Rules for Streaking
1. It has to be something positive, something I add to my life, not subtract: “Take up meditation”, rather than “Give up sugar.”
2. It’s not a streak for me until I get to Day 10. Before Day 10 it’s more like a “healthy trend,” but on day 10, I’ve got some traction, and a streak is now underway.
3. I have to understand that it’s going to end. It’s not infinitely sustainable. If it does last more than a few years, it’s no longer a streak, it’s a practice, and I’ll talk about that later.
The definition of a streak is that it will end. Streaks end because streaks are games. But the most important moment in the life of a streak is the day it dies. You do not want to rush the end, but be prepared for some soul-searching when it does:
Are you disappointed? Then start over.
Are you relieved? It wasn’t your thing. Pick something else and start a new streak.
How to Pick a Thing to Streak
One of the best things to streak are body practices or a meditation practice. They are part of this system anyway, so why not make meditation, or yoga, or walking, your streak thing? Two birds, one stone-ish.
Another thing you could do is think of something you’ve been putting off or procrastinating about, and pick a baby step and do it every day.
One home cooked meal from scratch a week.
30 minutes of de-cluttering every day.
Take a calendar and mark every day you succeed. That’t the Jerry Seinfeld “Don’t Break The Chain” approach. He put big Xs on his calendar for every day he practiced his stand-up routine. After a while the Xs locked arms in solidarity on his calendar and hell if he was going to create a breach!
Tomorrow: Why to Streak.