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Streak Your Way To Healthy Habits

I know what you’re thinking…

As much as I find that scene from Old School hilarious, I am not advocating that you should actually go streaking.

Instead, I’m suggesting a method to help you begin and continue healthy habits to reach your goals!

If you haven’t guessed already, I’m proposing that you start, build, and maintain a streak!

What do I mean by this? Let’s dive deeper:

Getting Started

First off, I can’t pretend to claim credit for this idea. I first heard of this concept a while ago on a podcast (I can’t remember which one, unfortunately) that the Millionaire Educator had a streak going of running every single day for over two and a half years. (The streak recently crossed 1,000 days!)

When I first heard of this feat, I thought, “I could never do something like that… every day for two and a half years? That’s crazy!”

But when you really get down to the essence of it, what is it really?

At its base, it’s taking anywhere from 4 (if you are the world record holder for running a mile!) to 30 minutes (many people can walk a mile in this time) out of your day to accomplish this.

Broken down this way, that two and a half year streak seems a lot more manageable, right? This isn’t trying to downplay it, but merely show that if you can set aside 30 minutes a day and prioritize running, you too can do this kind of streak.

All it takes it to pick your desired habit, know how much time you need to set aside, and get started on that streak!

Building A Streak

After thinking about ways to gain more consistency for some of my goals last month, this method crossed my mind again, and I thought about finally giving it a shot.

When determining a habit to start, running was out of the picture. While I understand some people love it, but I am not one of those people. Instead, I thought of a couple things I could do that would fit with my schedule, yet still be very beneficial.

First: stretch/meditate daily. Second: 100 push ups daily. Third: Go to gym/run a mile (or more) at least 3 times each week.

The first one I’ve already been doing, as this was one of my goals on the year. Though I am officially tracking this now.

100 push ups is definitely new. I thought this is something that will be good for me and help with my strength, yet it is not a big time commitment. Plus, now on days I can’t get a full workout in, I can at least feel like I have accomplished something with exercise!

Lastly, while not a daily streak, the gym/run is a weekly streak I’ll be tracking. Knowing myself, trying to do this one daily was just asking to fail, so I’m starting at 3. I’m hoping to gain consistency with my workouts doing this, which has been desperately lacking.

Since I began this method, I’ve found it has worked to great success!!

Wahoo!

Prior to writing this post, I just finished my 32nd day in a row of at least 100 push ups and will be accomplishing the same for stretching today as well. I started the workout streak a week later, but am one day away this week from making it my 3rd week in a row.

This pretty awesome if you ask me. I’ve been looking for consistency, and here it is!

The best part? I’ve found a way to trick myself into actually looking forward to these things everyday and week. My secret? Adjust your mindset.

Change Your Mindset

While not always official streaks, I have done things like this in the past that require daily tracking. A couple I’ve written about, like the no screens before bed challenge and wake up at 5am challenge, while others I haven’t, like trying to do 25 push ups every night before bed for a time.

What’s really plagued me with these prior streaks is that after a time, I lose interest and motivation to keep going with them.

They would eventually feel like they were becoming a chore, like something I had to do, not that I wanted to do.

In addition, inevitably I may have missed a day due to a busy schedule (aka – I did not prioritize it) or some other reason, and once I missed a day, it would be much too easy to skip other days since “I already missed the prior day so it’s not a big deal.”

The biggest difference I’ve noticed between my current streaks and all those past ones that failed is with my mindset.

Instead of thinking, “eh it’s no big deal if I skip this day”, now I think “I want to extend this streak and see how long I can go for!”

By tracking these streaks on an app and seeing how they extend each day, it is incredibly motivating!

In fact, doing half of my 100 push ups is usually the first thing I do when I get out of bed now! It feels great that the first thing I do everyday is to help extend a streak I’m working on.

Your mindset when going into something can be very powerful, so try and take this line of thinking (or something similar) if trying your own streak!

Streak Your Way To Healthy Habits

We’ve talked mostly about streaks for habits revolving around physical exercise. These are great because it is something daily/weekly that helps towards maintaining your health and can be tailored specifically to yourself.

100 push ups or running a mile everyday too unrealistic? Instead you can start out with 25 push ups, or 25 air squats or 10 air lunges… you get the point.

Ideally it is something that is somewhat of a challenge, but not too much so where it is prohibitively difficult.

Alternatively (or in addition), you can start streaks that lead to other healthy habits of the non-physical variety too.

Perhaps it’s money related, where you start a streak of bringing your own lunch to work (my streak would be pretty long had I been tracking this one!) or a no clothes buying streak that helps prevent you from buying clothes you don’t necessarily need.

Maybe its learning based, where you start a streak of reading or writing everyday, or it could be taking a language learning lesson via a smartphone app everyday.

There are so many healthy habits out there you could begin a streak with, the possibilities are endless!

So how long do these streaks need to last? The answer is: however long you want or find use for them!

If you inadvertently miss a day that ends a streak, don’t think of it as a failure, celebrate however long you got that streak to, then start it up again and try to beat it!

Will I take my own streaks to two and a half years like the Millionaire Educator? Who knows, all I’m focused on right now is taking it one day (and week!) at a time. If I do that, the length of the streak will take care of itself 🙂

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Have you ever tried using streaks as a way to promote healthy habits or accomplish your goals? Was it successful or not? What tips do you have for those trying to maintain a streak?

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10 thoughts to “Streak Your Way To Healthy Habits”

  1. I think this is a great idea. Easy to accomplish in theory as it makes whatever it is a priority. That’s the key to accomplishing goals in my opinion. If it’s not a priority, you’re inevitably going to fall short!

    1. Exactly! Using this method, I’ve tricked my brain into not wanting to end the streak, effectively making it a priority, which had been missing before. Must be some Jedi mind tricks or something 🙂

  2. I think one of the best things for a streak is simply to schedule it. I work at home, so five days a week, at 1 p.m., I stop what I’m doing and go work out. I treat it as an immutable part of my calendar. This stops me from talking myself out of it. It’s just something (unpleasant) I do every day at 1 p.m. I know it’ll only take an hour and then it’ll be done. So far I’ve worked out 4-5 days a week for several weeks now. I haven’t been keeping track of just how many, but it’s a good number I’m sure.

    I think the only dangerous thing about streaks is that if some external force forces you to break them (an injury or illness for example) it can be tough to get back into the routine because it’s disheartening that the streak was broken, making it harder to get back in the game.

    1. That’s a great way to go about it! Doing a couple of my streaks (or let if them) immediately when I wake up is a great and motivating way to start my day I’ve found.

      That is a good point though, I tried to make some of them ones I could even do when sick or injured (like stretching) but very on the others. I could see it being very tough to get back into it

  3. Well clearly, I’m all for streaking. It’s definitely been my most successful way to set goals, because once I get started I’m determined to keep it up. I went six months without buying work lunch once to break the opposite one of always buying it too 🙂

  4. Great job. Once you have a routine down, it’s not difficult to keep going.
    I find that working out 5 times per week is easier than 3. Every weekday is the same, you don’t have to change anything. And if you miss one workout, you’re still in good shape. It’s built in to your schedule.

  5. This is awesome! I’d been keeping track of some things, but that completely fell apart over the last six or so weeks. I need to both a) expand my definition of “work out” and make sure I’m doing some type of exercise and stretching every day and b) get back into tracking!

    1. Yes! I feel like so many people think they have to run for 5 miles, or go work out for an hour for it to be counted as a work out. In reality, consistent activity everyday is what’s really important!

      Bring hat streak tracker back! 😉

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