In recent years – and certainly since I got sober at the start of 2019 – I’ve been in the habit of daily streaks. I started a 4thewords (writing RPG) streak in December 2018, a daily run streak in January 2020 and a Duolingo streak in June 2022. Longest of all, though, has been my daily streak on this blog. I’ve published at least one blog post every day since I started the blog on 1st January 2018.
Streaks are a really good motivational tool for keeping up a habit, and are usually rewarded on systems such as 4thewords and Duolingo (both of which do have mechanisms for repairing a streak if you forget or need a break). Part of the reason I’m attracted to them is because I’ve started so many hobbies and projects over the years that have just petered out because I don’t prioritise them. If you have a streak going with something, you have to prioritise it, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.
Recently, though, I’ve had so many of these things ongoing that they’ve started to become a bit overwhelming and I’ve felt like they’ve been taking up a significant chunk of my time. However, I’ve been really loath to let any of them go, and I’ve recognised in the last couple of months that this is connected to my hoarding and addiction issues. I’ve made really good progress with the hoarding this year, and so I’ve been trying to apply that experience to help me let go of a few of my streaks.
I gave up the 4thewords streak a few weeks ago. It was getting to the point where I was so obsessed with logging every word I wrote that it was sometimes taking an hour or more, and since I stopped doing it I’ve realised how subconsciously entangled it was with my day (because I couldn’t write anything at all without noting it down to add to my 4tw files later on). I’ve also largely moved away from the reason I started doing it – my prose fiction writing – as most of my creative efforts go into my text adventure games now. As such, I’ve not missed it at all and my life has become a little bit easier.
I’m going to keep going with my run streak (which is huge for my mental health) and my Duolingo streak, which can take less than ten minutes on days when I’m busy. But I need to avoid adding any more daily habits to the to-do list, as they mount up so easily.
One thing I have been finding positive is the Codecademy weekly streak. You only have to do a short lesson once a week to keep the streak going, and that feels so much more manageable and less stressful (and also keeps it fun, which is important). I also don’t feel upset when I break my weekly streak by having a few weeks away from it, as it doesn’t feel addictive in the way that daily streaks do.
All of this means that I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my blog going forward. Keeping the daily streak has meant that most of my posts are short filler entries, especially recently, and it takes me a long time to compose them as there’s often nothing I can think of to say.
As such, a few weeks ago, I decided that from the start of 2023, I would only blog when I needed and wanted to blog. I will keep going with my parkrunday and Phone Box Thursday posts, as I enjoy those, but all other posts will be spontaneous rather than an obligation. I think I will enjoy blogging much more as a result. I thought the start of 2023 would be a good time to make this change, as I was spending 2022 working towards the ‘blog every day in a calendar year’ badge over on FetchEveryone by syndicating all my blog posts from here, and so I wanted to get that finished first…
…and then this last Thursday, I forgot to syndicate my phone box post to Fetch (I ticked it off my to-do list by mistake as I was so tired) and just like that, blew all the daily progress I’d made towards the badge over the last nearly eleven months. Sigh.
So there’s no reason not to give up my blog streak now. I feel a bit uncomfortable not ‘making the streak whole’ by rounding it out to five years, but that’s an issue in itself, and I think it would be braver and better to let it go now. So tomorrow, I won’t blog. Which is absolutely terrifying, but it will make my life happier from this point on. Of that I am certain.
(There are a few more bits and pieces of streaks here and there that I could also do with letting go, largely involving daily visits to various web forums and things like that. I’ll try and work on those next year.)