My 10 Tips on Maintaining a Streak
1. Try to survive for 10 days and then it will be easier
There are a lot of statements saying that the habit forms after a certain amount of days but in my opinion, it's not a habit itself but a commitment to yourself. 10 days is a "pretty" number, the highest grade the jury gives to the contenders. What is beautiful about 10 days is that it's slightly more than 1 week (captain obvious), usually, we measure our progress with the week, one week we do something, another one we give up and tell ourselves that we will start again as a new week starts. 10 days is already a moment when you passed the first week and yet you keep doing something. It is your first milestone. Also, it motivates when you check your streak tracker on the phone and see this beautiful number. 10! Speaking of the streak apps...↓
2. Streak tracking app
Some day Steve Jobs said that each app should serve a single purpose. I tried to find this quote but failed.
A lot of us track habits with calendars and to-do lists. It didn't work for me so I found a habit tracker app. I think each piece of information and data should be presented in a certain way. Todo list apps nor calendars can't help you achieve this.
I'm using the Streaks app, and I love it. In overall, it's a to-do list, yes, but it has a certain visualization, animations, and clever preset for reminders and habit repetitions. Initially, they had the ability to add only 6 habits, explaining this in a way that it's a maximum amount of habits a usual person can maintain, but then they extended it to 24. I think it was a move to satisfy customers but it turned the app into a to-do list, cause you find yourself adding a dozen of habits but still maintaining only 3-4 of them.
My longest streaks are "Daily selfie" (1674 days) and "Journaling" (1768 days).
3. Try a different cadence
It shouldn't be a daily thing immediately, you can do 3 days per week, then 4, then 5 and so on until you will find yourself doing it on a daily basis. Once again, I think incremental tracking in the app will form this metric for you which you might want to increase.
4. Share your progress with others
For example, a lot of my friends know about my habit of making a selfie each day for almost 5 years already. They always ask me if I still do this. They were so excited about that cool time-lapse video I made 2 years ago and now it's even longer. So I keep doing this.
Also, I have to mention the social part of NotePD. It really motivates me to keep my streak here. I see support from others and I like to share progress with them.
5. Try to find a certain time of the day when you can contribute to your streak and connect this moment with this habit
So, my journaling is quite simple: I list everything about my day. It's not about deep thought or analysis. I just want to remember something about a specific day. I do it in the evening mostly, before bed. But for this habit, it's pretty reasonable cause you are doing a review of your day... at the end of the day :) However, if you want to practice chess, just launch https://lichess.org/ for example, and do a few puzzles while having your morning coffee, or even while seating on the toilet (sorry). The biggest reason we are failing our streaks it's cause we think we don't have time today for a moment to increase it.
6. Reward yourself
It's a no-brainer. Well-known carrot and stick. For example, you can buy yourself something only after maintaining the streak for a month or so. Sounds childish but it might work.
7. Do baby steps
You don't need to do a hundred pushups per day right away or you don't need to read a book in one day. Just start with 10 pages per day, then 1 chapter, then 2 chapters. The goal is just to do something consistently, and train your commitment to improve. Also, regarding the books: if you would find a great one you might find yourself reading chapter after chapter which also might cause trouble maintaining your other streaks.
8. Miss a streak is fine but not for 2 days in a row
It's my personal rule. We are all humans. It's ok to have a bad day and be able to skip the streak. But you can do it once, otherwise, you will start a new streak of missing the habit which currently counts 2 days in a row.
9. Set a realistic goal
I think the goal is needed anyway. Back to the books example. You might say "I want to read XX books this year". If you want to add reading to your habits and hobbies, don't say "I want to read 100 books this year". Probably, you will not accomplish your goal. For sure, you will achieve this number of books per year later, with time, but start with 15 books for example. It will help to start with baby steps.
10. Just have fun
Really. All new things you are trying and building streaks for them, just do it for fun. Less stress more progress.