Last summer, I happened to tune into Laura Vanderkam’s podcast, Before Breakfast. (If you’re not familiar with Laura’s work, I highly recommend exploring it. She is an expert in time management and the author of several excellent books, including I Know How She Does It and Off the Clock.)
Her topic was streaks: The disciplined practice of doing something every single day, no matter what. She mentioned that in 1977, her father, a young professor of religion, decided that he would maintain and improve his language skills by reading Hebrew for 30 minutes every day. He’s been doing that ever since.
Vanderkam has tried streaks herself, most notably with running and fiction writing. I was totally inspired by this.
And now I am proud to say that I’ve run at least one mile every day for since August 25, 2019. Many days I’ve run more, but I always do at least one mile. By my calculations, my running streak has already lasted 162 days.
If you’re a busy mom who struggles to carve out consistent time for exercise, a streak may work for you. Just make sure you’re setting a manageable goal. I found that I could carve out 10 minutes (the max time it takes me to bang out a mile) every day. Most days, this happens before the kids are awake. Other days, the best I can do is run around the block while my daughter is in her ballet class. On several occasions, I went for a quick run when my husband got home. It never felt like too much.
These days I prefer small wins to lofty goals. I want to feel good about what I do, rather than beat myself up for falling short.
Now that I see how helpful — and weirdly fun — a streak can be, I’ll be using streaks to create space for other behaviors I want to increase in my everyday life.