Breaking the Streak, and Starting a New One
Let me explain. My fabulous coach, Berni Xiong, has turned me on to a lovely site called 750words.com. It harks back to my days writing longhand journals as part of my exploration of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I love that book and am seriously thinking of devoting a set of newsletters to it (you’ll have to subscribe to the newsletter to see all of that, although I will probably post the odd snippet for you holdouts).
One of the best exercises in Julia’s book is The Morning Pages. Every morning when you wake up, you are supposed to write three pages of thoughts, musings, grocery lists, grumpiness, whatever is in your mind gets spit out onto the page. I did this for quite a long time, but then I stopped. Not because it wasn’t useful, but somehow … maybe I finished a notebook and neglected to buy another one … I’m not even sure why I stopped.
Back to Berni. She suggested 750words.com. As enthusiastically as I do most new things, I charged right into it. I’m a very fast touch typist, and as long as I’m not interrupted, I can spew out 750 words in fifteen minutes or less (I believe my record is eleven minutes – the site keeps that kind of statistics for you, part of the fun!). I didn’t always do it in the morning, as I found it unsatisfactory to be picking my words out on my phone and didn’t have time to get the laptop up before school mayhem started. But I did it on Friday afternoons before Shabbat, and late on Saturday nights after Shabbat. I did it every day for nineteen days, and I loved all the encouraging words that appeared on the site, telling me about my streak and urging me to keep it up.
Then, on a Thursday that my daughter had a couple of friends over, I didn’t do it. I broke my streak. Then I didn’t do it on Friday. Then I was online late at night after Shabbat on Saturday, but 750 Words was not part of my routine.
Just like that, a habit that I’d faithfully followed for 19 days was gone. They say it takes 21 days to create a habit (FlyLady says more like 28 days for distracted folks like me). I didn’t quite make it. Am I doomed?
Here’s the good news. I went on 750 Words this morning early, in the quiet when everyone was still asleep. I wrote my words. There were three reproachful blanks in my tally, but I put them behind me. I’ve signed up for the July Challenge – to try and write every single day, including before and after Shabbat, for the month of July. My first streak was broken, but I’m about to create a new one.
How about you, does this behaviour ring any bells? Do you start enthusiastic streaks and then break them? What do you do to keep yourself going when the initial burst of energy is gone?