Streaks - Building Creative Habits
Last year I started writing a sci-fi novel, something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while now. The excitement of the new task carried me through the first few thousand words, but I quickly became stuck. Once the initial inspiration wore off, I ended up not touching my manuscript for months.
A few months into the new year (my resolutions came late), I set a goal for myself to finish my first novel by the middle of the summer. To do this, I knew I’d have to get in the habit of writing…every…single…day.
According to Psychology Today, “habit formation is the process by which new behaviors become automatic.” The only way to form and maintain a new habit is to repeat the desired action until it stops feeling like a task. For years I’ve used the iOS reminders app to work on my daily habits. However, the problem was that these reminders were too easy to ignore. I would say to myself “there’s always tomorrow.” There was no accountability, so I’d find myself checking off a task just to get rid of the notification bubble.
Since I began to use the Streaks app, though, I’ve been able to stay on top of the things that matter in a fun way. Like the name suggests, this app is used to keep track of how many days in a row you can complete a set of tasks. The app only lets you focus on six daily tasks, which helps you to narrow your focus down to the things that are most important to you. You’re effectively competing with yourself, chasing a streak that is harder to ignore than a simple to-do list. After a week or so, you feel compelled to not lose your streak, so you’re less likely to skip a day at the gym or a guitar practice or whatever other goal you have in mind.
The app might not work for everyone in every scenario, but it works for me. I’m currently on my 20th day of writing 500 words per day, which is far more productive than I’ve ever been. That’s 10,000 words towards my novel that I wouldn’t have written without the app. Thanks to Streaks, my daily writing goal is slowly turning into a daily writing habit.
Bonus: Not only does Streaks help people form good habits, it also has been proven to help people break bad habits like smoking.