Alexey’s website

Except for Weekends and Holidays

When building a new habit, it’s quite easy to fail to keep it up on some days. As you probably know, breaking habits is alright and is inevitable.

Many programs and apps focused on habit building track “streaks” of you sticking to a habit every day. Duolingo users, for example, report streaks of 2000 days in a row.

And then, inevitably, comes the day when the streak is broken.

If your streak has been much larger than what you’ve ever had, you might even quit the habit — just because you think you might never make it to a streak that high ever again. This is a problem, as the streaks are supposed to keep the habit builders engaged, not drive them away.

I find it much more helpful to use the forms of tracking that include targets for the month, the quarter or the year, and track progress towards the target. If your target is to meditate 28 days out of 30, and you hit 27, you’ve accomplished 96.4% of your goal, not 0%. Numeric grows win over the binary yes/no goals.

I also wonder: how many Duolingo users would still keep the streak if they didn’t count holidays and possibly weekends towards their learning days?