Streaks: What works for some people doesn't work for others

Friday, September 15, 2017

I do very poorly with streaks and daily login requirements. emoticon

The first time I was on SparkPeople, I was ever so dedicated to all that. If there were SparkPoints to be earned taking a quiz or reading an article or commenting in groups, I was there. I was almost obsessive about trying to maintain my streaks - days logged in, days reporting my water intake, etc. emoticon

I burned out hard. emoticon

This isn't unique to SparkPeople streaks. I don't know what it is about me, but I self-motivate well and externally motivate poorly. I perceive most streaks to be emphasizing the wrong goals. (And, in some cases, more about advertising dollars than whatever I'm supposed to be maintaining that streak to accomplish.)

One recent example that might help clarify this is an app called DuoLingo. I know a decent amount of Spanish, but am nowhere near as fluent as I'd like to be, and this is a language app to learn with. Using it free means putting up with ads, which is mildly intrusive but I can deal.

Anyway, I open the app most days and do my lessons. emoticon

So far, so good, but then I miss a day. No biggie to me, as I go in the next day and can do two lessons or just make sure I'm not dropping behind.

However, the app makes a huge deal about maintaining that streak. I'm asked if I want to spend money to repair my streak. emoticon

Why is that such a big deal to me?

How exactly does paying money to pretend I didn't miss a day improving my language skills? It's entirely the wrong goal.

My real goal is improved fluency. I know when I see new words, and when I remember them a week later, I know I'm building vocabulary. I regularly repeat old lessons and see how much better I do. There is a percentage to measure fluency, and I notice when I go up a point.

The streak is actually meaningless. There is ZERO actual value to me in this streak. I could choose to do the lessons every other day, never build a streak, and be very successful learning the language. (Compare that to logging in and doing the bare minimum each day, paying any time I miss a day. At the end of the same period doing that I would know a lot less Spanish, I'd be financially poorer, but I could brag about my amazing streak. Um ... yay?)

Based on what I just described, I've learned to deliberately break streaks. Sometimes I'll wait until the next day to log things just so no streak ever builds up. Whether I log it or not, I easily drink eight or more cups of water most days. Drinking the water is important to me. Logging it is not.

IMPORTANT: Back to the title. Do not take this personal blog about what works and doesn't work for me as gospel. It does not mean every one of you needs to ignore streaks. They work for others. For some people it isn't that easy to drink enough water, and feeling a need to log each cup helps motivate them to refill it and drink some more.

If streaks work for you, if streaks are what motivate you to get DOING things, emoticon

If streaks don't work for you, then figure out what does motivate you to get DOING things.

Because, in the end, it's what you DO that will make all the difference.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    1415 days ago
    I don't worry about streaks, I seek balance... and often making a streak the priority, doesn't support balance. I feel the same way about most of the challenges around here. I've also notices a loose inverse correlation between people with the highest points, and weight loss. I don't think that's an accident.
    1416 days ago
    I can be obsessive about signing in each day but I do not understand the ins and outs of the streaks to really care. But I do get good feelings from the postings of others on this trip. I like being around other people who are heavy and working on healthy. I also agree, different strokes for different folks. We are all on a healthy journey, keep on keeping on.
    1416 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.