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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

As I end Day 7 on my current streak, I am feeling pretty dang encouraged. Halfway there - only 7 more days to go until I can pull my first reward from the Reward Jar ( wp.me/p1N36Q-71 )!

I don't know what the mental driving force is behind maintaining streaks, but there's something to it. I was certainly disappointed to ruin a good wheat-free streak last Sunday at the 5k ( wp.me/p1N36Q-8F ). I'm excited about the current binge free streak I have going. Certainly, it's a very personal thing - nobody else cares how many weeks in a row I have maintained normal eating, or how many years in a row I can make Star Wars themed pancakes on New Year's Day, or how many days in a row I can practice Spanish.

I have had a much easier time maintaining the Spanish than the diet. I briefly mentioned the Duolingo app in this post ( wp.me/p1N36Q-45 ), but feel compelled to write about it here because the makers of Duolingo have tapped into the power of streaks. Duolingo ( duolingo.com/ ) is a free web or mobile app that helps you learn a new language in a fun, engaging way with only five minutes of practice each day. You can choose:

- Spanish
- French
- German
- Portuguese
- Italian
- English

I am on level 9 of the Spanish version, which involves translating short phrases from Spanish to English, dictation, and speaking. At the end of each level, you are given a series of short passages from real websites which you must translate to English. You are not scored on this, but are notified how closely your translation aligns with others who have translated the same passage. I believe that the most common translations are then used to actually translate the website - at which point, the website owner pays for the translation, thus keeping the app free.

I've earned trophies in Adverbs, Sizes, and More! Learning more objects today.

It's by the same guy who created "Captcha," the authentication software that presents you with two words you must type in whenever engaging in an online transaction to demonstrate that you are, in fact, a human.

Oh, if you ever get annoyed at that type of authentication, don't be - you are actually helping to digitize books. Here's a fantastic short video about it - very inspiring.


Alright, so what does all of this have to do with maintaining streaks? A lot, actually. Duolingo understands that I only get better with daily practice - therefore, if night is approaching and I haven't logged in to do my daily 5 minute practice, I get an e-mail reminding me not to lose my (x) day streak. I don't even know how long I've been going in my latest Spanish streak because I don't let it get to that point - I find 5 minutes as I'm getting ready in the morning to open up the app and practice Spanish.

Now, 5 minutes of Spanish practice is a bit of an easier task than 24 hours of food-related vigilance, but same concepts apply. By not losing my current streak, I'm doing a lot of good for myself physically and mentally. If only I could get an instant e-mail reminder any time I even *think* about falling off the binge free wagon!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • MIRA04
    Great job on the fitness and for learning a new language! Keep it up!
    1858 days ago
    Cool! I love streaks! I also love tipping myself for exercising! Good luck with the languages!
    1858 days ago
    Just climb back on that wagon and you will be fine.
    1858 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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