A few years ago, I had a friend who had not had sex in more that 2 years. 26 months, if I’m correct. That was mostly because he was living in a village so far away from everything that he barely left home; his evenings were often just having a glass of Chardonnay while reading a book on his favorite armchair. Very Bree Van de Kamp.
Anyway. At some point he found himself in a need of sex. So, he just did what any of us would do: he went to a nightclub, found a random guy, had sex.
But when he told me about it, he was kind of sad. Because he had lost his streak. Now, he felt that he had to start from scratch.
This reaction made me laugh for three days I think.
He had never been happy of not having sex, he was kind of ashamed of this long period of abstinence, but this streak was nonetheless important to him. Just because it was a streak, and a streak has to be impressive.
And when you lose one, it feels like failure.
Now, a few years later, we all talk about daily routines, having some discipline in our lives. Many apps display our streaks, and a streak on anything became something we can be proud of.
I learn a language on Duolingo, started something like a year ago. Almost never miss a day. But, the “almost” doesn’t count. If you miss a day, you go back to day one.
The first time it happened to me, I had had a few (probably a lot) glasses with a friend, and I didn’t do my training before going there. Huge error. I ended up in my bed at 4 minutes before midnight, with the horrible perspective of losing my streak. So I hurried up to finish a lesson, but I guess it took me a little bit more than 4 minutes because when I ended it I’ve seen these words: “Congratulations. Streak: 1 day.”
I was so pissed: I had a 104 days streak that I was very proud of.
Then, these words on my screen: “Repair my 104 days streak for 6.45 euros.”
I didn’t even think about it: I clicked and paid these 6.45 euros. But of course, I was ashamed. My streak progressed from 104 days, but it wasn’t the same anymore. I knew I had cheated.
Then I lost it again a few weeks after, I paid again. And again a few days later. At that point, what is the purpose of keeping a false streak on display ? I knew I didn’t deserve it.
So when I lost it the 4th time, I didn’t “repair” it. I started from scratch. I didn’t like it, but at least I had my conscience for myself.
Now I try to be more disciplined. When I go have drinks I do my lessons before. My streak is only 54 days, but at least it’s really mine. And I will do better than that, I have to.
Being on a journey to improve myself in many levels, I downloaded “Habits” a few weeks ago, an app where we can set the habits we want to take, and check every day the things we actually did.
Of course, this app displays our streaks as well. And even if it’s not the streak that counts but really the regularity, I track these streaks like if these numbers were a notation on myself.
On one hand it’s great, because it forces me to be on top of the habits on which I managed to have a nice streak. On the other hand, I abandon very quickly the things that I know will never be a huge streak. And it’s a shame.
As I did on Duolingo, I have to learn that losing a streak is okay. And “losing” one day after a 104 days streak and start over to have a new streak is okay as well.
It’s not starting from scratch, it’s just resting one day.