The Motivational Power of Streaks

Fred Wilson, my favorite venture capitalist (doesn’t everyone have a favorite venture capitalist?), wrote a blog today about streaks.

He noted that his son was teaching himself Japanese using Duolingo, and one of the features of the learning platform that his son likes is that it offers a streak count to motivate you to stay on track by recording how many days in a row you spend learning a language.

I’m  fan of keeping track of streaks, and agree that they can be powerful motivators. Once you get a streak going (well most streaks), you want to keep it going.

That may be why my favorite baseball player of all-time was Cal Ripken, who set the record for most consecutive baseball games played at 2,632.

(On the other hand I remember going to a presentation in college by one of the writers of Animal House, and he claimed that he got drunk 57 straight days. The number was not a random one; he wanted to beat Joe DiMaggio’s record of getting a hit in 56 straight baseball games. I must admit for about 10 seconds I thought of what it would be like to attempt such a drinking feat, but fortunately I came to my senses.)

Fred mentioned a few other streaks he’s got going, but the one that impresses me the most is his blogging streak. I’ve mentioned before that Fred is one of my inspirations for blogging everyday, along with Seth Godin and David Kanigan. Their streaks are impressive:

Seth Godin has been blogging almost every day since January 2002, and his current daily streak is probably at least 10 years.

Fred Wilson has posted to his blog every day since September 23, 2003.

David Kanigan has been posting nearly every day since October 2011, and his current daily streak is probably at least five years.

As Fred notes in his blog, “Keeping something going is a powerful motivator. So when you have that day or week you really don’t want to get up for, think about your streak, get up for it, and do it.”

I couldn’t agree more. There are somedays when I have trouble thinking of something to write, but then I think about the streak and ask myself how I would feel the next day if the streak was over simply because I was too lazy to come up with something to write about.

So while I do enjoy writing every day, some days are harder than others, but the streak is a powerful motivator. This post represents 1,287 straight days of blogging; I’ve noted before my goal is to at least reach Ripken’s record of 2,632. I’m almost halfway there…

By the way, if you are looking to get started with a streak, why don’t you see how many days in a row you can read my blog. If you get to three, you may set the record…

P.S. By the way, Duolingo looks like a great way to learn a language.

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