Last month I was traveling with my family and I realized that I hadn't made an entry in my journal, which would have meant that I'd be losing my streak. So while going through the airport, I decided to take out my mobile phone and start writing on the go.
My son wanted to talk to me a couple of times, but he saw that I was "busy" with my phone. I attempted to make conversation, but couldn't really focus on journaling and talking at the same time.
I managed to get my writing in for the day and maintained my writing streak.
But was that the best use of my time? Was that the ideal way to behave during my family vacation?
Incentive schemes and habit streaks can be great in encouraging us to stick to positive behaviors, but they sometimes make an activity seem more important than it appears, especially when contrasted with other options available to us.
Last night I arrived home at around 11PM. I hadn't seen my wife since lunch time, and didn't write my 200 words for the day. But I chose to break my writing streak because I felt spending time with her is the better option.
Each one of us has their own priorities, and sometimes "it wouldn't hurt" to take a few minutes to maintain a streak. But I didn't want incentive schemes to derail me from what I felt was the best option for me at the time.
Maybe it's because my writing streak was only 9 days long, so I didn't feel that invested in it in the first place (and I've broken it several times before). If you've had a perfect streak this far in using this site, then the loss might feel bigger.
But it's always worth noting how much control we exercise over our actions, versus the ways we're manipulated by expectations, streaks, notifications, points, badges, etc.