I Forgot

Well, it happened. I forgot to draw today.

There have been times when my day had gone way past midnight and into the hours of the early morning. But I did some art before I slept. For me the day really ends when I go to sleep. So this morning I woke up at 4:00am and thought “OH SHIT”, I had forgotten to do some art.

Instantly I was wide awake. I started some coffee, setup my materials and started a drawing. I drew for an hour, I was calm and focused and the drawing turned out better than I thought it would.

Then I went back to bed.

I could have gotten really upset I guess, I could have even hidden the fact that I didn’t do any art before bed. I felt that would be cowardly, and getting upset wouldn’t have helped either. So, It happened, I lost my streak, but I made it up. I will still count my sessions of art and do them daily but now I have to say I missed a day.

fHow to avoid habit suicide by Brian Johnson (link)

Let’s say you’re building a new habit a la the Quick How to on Habits +1.

We talked about the importance of picking something that fires you up, going Keystone on it, making it Micro and doing it every day.

Let’s focus on the every day part in this +1.

For whatever reason, it’s a LOT easier to decide to meditate every day than it is to do it 3 times per week or every other day. It’s just how our brains work. The more consistent we are, the easier it is.

Now, let’s say you have a little streak going. 5 days. 10 days. 15 days. A W E S O M E.

Your little habit seed is taking shape.

Friendly Optimizer Travel Warning: WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T SKIP A DAY!!!

And, if you happen to miss a day (it happens!), then DEFINITELY (!!!) don’t miss two days.

In his great little book Superhuman by Habit, Tynan calls missing two days in a row “habit suicide.”

If you miss a day (again, it happens), make getting your habit back on track your #1 priority for the following day. Schedule it. Rock it.

Fact is, if you miss that second day in a row, you’re in trouble and if you miss three days in a row you run the very (!!!) strong risk of losing all the hard work you’ve done installing it and will basically need to re-start from Ground 0.

(Don’t believe me? How many times have you let a day slip “just because” and then another day and then another and then BAM! Habit begone?)

So, point of this Idea (beyond the above): When you’re tempted to skip a day, remember this wisdom: “It’s OK to suck. It’s not OK to skip.”

Even if you have a TERRIBLE meditation or workout or writing session or whatever, it’s WAY better to suck than to skip.

Seriously. Way better.

What habit can you put this tip into practice on?

Get on that!

(And, remember the Micro-Habit principle: Make it silly easy to do so you can easily keep the streak alive!!)

I Forgot, cover

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2 Comments

  1. That’s a hard thing to fess up to. I know why you felt it important to admit to me and on your blog about missing the day, or at least going to bed before you finished art. I mean, on one hand, shit happens. We were in a little bit of a daze that day. And I didn’t even think to ask if you had finished your art. Sometimes I ask. I wondered to myself “why didn’t I ask him in the morning when I thought of it?” But if we use the incident as a learning opportunity, then it wasn’t a mistake.
    And it’s also not like you lost all the days you’ve worked before missing a day. That’s the thing to remember, and I’m not just talking to you, I’m speaking for myself as well. So often I find myself facing a craving to eat or do something I know isn’t the healthiest choice, and when I cave, I find myself saying “Fuck it, might as well go off the wagon”. I did that with smoking for a while. I do it with working out ALL. THE. TIME. And also with my eating habits. That’s also why I incorporate the reward system, so if I mess up on something, I can remind myself that I have another opportunity to earn those points the next day, or there are other ways to earn the points so I don’t just give up all together.
    But over four years is an awesome streak. If you want to keep track again, I recommend Strides app for your phone.You just check when you’ve finished your habit and it will keep track of how many days you’ve been on your streak. If you forget to check it, you can still go back and mark it done (provided you actually did it). This is how I know I’ve been on my minimum writing streak for 160 days (I wish I could count this response in my word count, it’s LONG).
    Good job on your art, and good job on your accountability!

    • Thank you for writing, and I totally agree. But honestly I don’t feel a need to count the streak exactly right now. I still feel a great amount of pride in the session numbers that I’m achieving. I still want to do that point system though, I just have to make time to set it up for myself.

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