Guilt is quite tricky. It can either be used as motivation to improve or it is used as a paralyzing tranquilizer. Guilt usually hovers around the latter. You set a weight-loss goal, start a program, or make a personal commitment and as soon as you fall back you begin to beat yourself up for not being more diligent or feeling like you’re failing all together.
There may be some of you who have felt this feeling after setting a streak and consistently seeing it reset to 0. Let me be extremely clear, if you are correctly streaking you should not experience guilt or discouragement. Here’s why:
Discouragement is a product of unmet expectations. When focus is on the accomplishment and the accomplishment isn’t achieved, discouragement is the product. When truly streaking, your full focus is on the input not the result. You set up laughably small activities (inputs) and put your focus fully on how many days in a row you can do that laughably small activity. A streak is not to accomplish a goal. A streak is to point you to who you want to be. When your focus changes from accomplishment to input, discouragement dissipates and is eventually eliminated.
Streaking is about small wins. We often see people experience discouragement when they set a streak that disregards Law #1, Keep it Laughably Simple. Setting a streak to perform consistently at a high level will become unsustainable. The power of Streaking comes from the consistency of the action rather than the level at which you perform it. So set a streak that is laughably simple. A good rule of thumb is to set a streak that is so laughably simple it can be completed on your hardest day (traveling, kids are sick, you’re sick) or set a streak that is so simple it is crazy NOT to do it. That way, when there are days when you don’t feel like completing it, you have no excuse. There are some days you will do more and some days that you will do exactly the laughably simple amount.
I have a personal streak to learn at least one investing principle daily. Most days I will listen to an entire podcast or read an article that teaches me 10 fold that amount. However, there are some days where I am so busy I didn’t get to read my article or listen to my podcast and I find myself lying in bed checking off my streaks in the app to find that I had not completed my investing streak yet. It is at these moments that I am extremely grateful for keeping my streaks laughably simple. I open Investopedia.com
, click on the first article I see, learn a single principle, mark my streak as complete, and then go to bed. It is better to learn 1 new principle than for me to have gone to bed learning nothing.
If you have felt discouragement or guilt while streaking try to:
Shift your focus to inputs rather than the outcomes
Make your streaks laughably simple
Celebrate each day you complete your streak