I'm thinking about breaking my streak intentionally

Published on Jun 26, 2019

A side conversation in the comments thread that I had with @basilesamel keeps coming back. This was in one of my previous posts about streak burnout and wellbeing, and we were talking about intentionally breaking your streak as part of growth: 


@jasonleow Learning to break your streak and get back up is part of the growth mechanism. The main critique I formulated to Sergio is that adding rest days is not going to help with establishing the right mindset.
It's important to learn to break your streak. I kept breaking streaks for five years throughout college. Workout streak, journaling streak, blogging streak... Learning persistency helped me overcome many hardships in life, but that's a story (several ones actually) for another day :)

@basilesamel yes so true. If you can break the streak and climb back up anyway, then the habit is yours to keep! Tbh it's something I'd been thinking about with my 200th day coming...

@jasonleow Take a break :P It's no big deal, just whatever works for you.

@basilesamel Yep, no big deal. I'm not burned out, so I can keep going if I want to. Just considering intentionally breaking it anyway, just to up the challenge and see what can be learned from it.


Yes, I'd been thinking about intentionally breaking my recently celebrated 200th day streak, but still continuing to write daily after that. 


Leading up to the 200th day, I'd been thinking about what I can do to challenge myself further. I'd learned a lot about writing, about myself, about creativity and artistry, in these 200 days. It also feels like I'm at a place where I'm quite comfortable with writing daily. The initial struggles of not knowing what to write, seems to be gone...mostly. There's still brief moments of that uncertainty showing up, but it fades away really fast once I start my routine. I discovered themes I love writing about, and I unconsciously shuffle between them in my posts. Some days, I write one of those sensorially-descriptive and peak experience stuff, other days someone's quality thoughts and post catalyses a floodgate of thoughts that become my own post. Otherwise, I do daydream posts, making stuff up for a future yet to come. 


It feels like I could keep this going forever. Marathon runners will know this feeling - where after the initial struggle, you hit a pace and rhythm where your breath and legs are in sync and matched in input and output, and you kind of reach an active equilibrium, with your whole body optimised for the run. This brings the runner's high. And indeed, this is my writer's high. It's fun, it feels great to write, and there's a feeling of synergy between inspiration, thought, fingers and words. 


That's why I'm feeling somewhat itchy for more. If I want to grow more in my creative self through writing, if I want to push myself further, what can I do? Introduce a steep hill or two in the run? Add obstacles? Or run with stronger competitors? 


Breaking the streak feels like one of those steep hills I could bring into it. Fact is, I will still write everyday. I'm not stopping writing for sure, just resetting the streak. So how would it affect me if I removed that big number beside my streak flame? Would I lose motivation and stop altogether? Will it lower me into another deeper slump? Am I playing with fire here? 


Most importantly, what do I want to learn or achieve by doing this? 


Definitely, I want to train harder on the discipline and drive to climb back up. Perhaps to also test if there's any attachment to the social status of having a high streak count. Finally, there's something I feel like I want to test for myself: if I'm sure that a lifetime of writing is the endgame here, that I write because I enjoy it, I want it and I benefit from it, then can I let go of the streak anyway and be motivated to write due to the joy, desire and benefits that writing gives me? 


Because, truth be told, if I am to be totally honest with myself, even when I reached my 200th post yesterday, I wasn't that crazily excited or feeling accomplished. This might come off like arrogance or blowing my own horn, but it is sincerely not my intention. It's truly how I felt. At this point, 200 feels like a small check point in a lifetime of writing. If this 200-day journey had taught me anything, it was that I enjoy writing, I benefit tremendously from it, and I want to write daily. 


And what better way to test that lifetime writing hypothesis than to break my streak!? What do you think? Does this sound like bullshit? Or a feasible experiment? 


Side-note: This post is me thinking as I write, writing as I think, writing for emergence, so please pardon the convoluted rambling. ;P