Ralph Steadman style illustration, counting streak in chalk --ar 16:9 --q 2 --v 5 --s 250

The benefits of streaking

Streaking is a very powerful tool for building good habits or stopping bad ones. It is the practice of marking down somewhere visually every day you do or don’t do what you set out to achieve.

The streak I am building is how many days I haven’t smoked weed, and have also recently introduced a second metric of how many days I haven’t drunk. I am using a whiteboard placed to the right of my monitor resting against the wall and have drawn a makeshift grid that represents the days up until the end of the year. That’s not to say I am going to stop the streak then but it’s a good point to work towards.

Streaking whiteboard
Black pen for no weed, green pen for no alcohol

What makes streaking so powerful?

Visualizing progress

The fact that I have this whiteboard smack bang in front of me while I am working is constant reminder to the progress I am making. It is also is a stark reminder of the pace of progress. This perspective is helpful for everything else you are trying to achieve in your life. Everyday I mark a square off and it doesn’t feel like much but before you know it, a week has been marked off and now I’m almost at 30 days. If you apply that thinking to your finances, health, relationships, business ideas anything is possible.

New dopamine hit

My old habit would be putting the little one to bed and then going outside for pipe. I actually think the process of chopping the weed, packing the pipe and sneaking out back was more of a rush than the actual part where I got stoned. Now my new rush is getting up early, going for my exercise and chalking off another day. That feeling of taking the lid off the marker and getting one square closer to a goal is such a good feeling.

Optimistic updating

This is an engineering term used when you optimistically update a user interface to the successful state after making a network call. I use this technique for my streaking. Like I mentioned above, my morning ritual is to mark this off even though I haven’t gotten through the day yet but this shows intention. It almost feels like I’ve set it in stone on the board there is no way I could smoke or drink, thats how powerful the board is.

I highly recommend incorporating streaking into the battle against addiction. It is one of the most powerful companions you can find.

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