The odd reason for two streak numbers

Back in February, I joined WIP, a wonderful paid community of makers who share their journey and can ask questions and support each other.

When I joined that community, I started working every single day, working on exciting projects and pushing work out left and right, I was building a pretty cool streak and feeling proud of it.

Streaks are these funny things; they trigger something innate to humans, our thirst for more, and our competitive spirits. That's why they are in so many apps. They are the scoreboard of habit-building products.

My WIP streak was looking healthy... until one day, I simply forgot.
Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 3.35.48 PM.png 80.4 KB
Yup. I just forgot. Totally blanked on it. It's not that I didn't work. I did work on Perspectiva that day.

Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 3.39.52 PM.png 551 KB
But I did work on May 14th!

I worked on building a modal that will ask journalers on Perspectiva to define their goals, making it easier to help keep them working towards that goal in the future.

Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 3.45.59 PM.png 571 KB
Goals, goals, goals... GOALS!

The empire streaks back

(yeah, I don't know what that means either 🤷‍♂️)

After I realized my streak on WIP broke, I was so upset at myself, both for letting the streak break and also for caring about my streak breaking.

The next day I didn't post anything on WIP; I just worked quietly and shared my progress with Github, my wife, and our Perspectiva customers.

The day after was about the same. I didn't even connect to the chat.

And so, just like that, a habit that quite strong was broken.

As shown by the first chart, just pulled from WIP, I haven't been able to re-start my habit of sharing my progress with the WIP community just yet. Still working on that one.

Incidentally:
Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 3.50.52 PM.png 56.1 KB
WIP TODO


That's why, when I set out to implement the Perspectiva streak algorithm, I went for a much more complex (and radically geek-tertaining, I might add) than simply counting the number of days a journaler wrote.

After all, Perspectiva is a journal for people who struggle with journaling: it's expected that some days some people struggle with writing!

Hey, this is not just because this is actually how habits work; this is because I'm selfish, and I want an algorithm that will be empathetic with me, who's the main beneficiary from Perspectiva being accommodating when it comes to streaks!
Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 3.54.52 PM.png 18 KB
My dirty little secret: my streak, to this day, is not pristine 🤷‍♂️


I wish I still had the multiple pages of notes I took while designing the algorithm, but we just finished moving to a new house, and most of my paper notes are still in boxes, but trust me: there were several pages, with multiple pages full of charts, studying and evaluating what would be the proper curvature of the function that represents how habits really form.

Wife 🥰

I'm lucky that I can count on my wife, Marina, to help with this: she's helped hundreds (thousands, perhaps?) of clients work on their habit formation for many many years:

We were able to work together on how habits form slowly and break fast, but, depending on the strength of the habit, usually not overnight.

That's why Perspectiva's streak is not just a number. It's two: the nominal value, i.e., the typical streak, and the strength of the streak, which is a number ranging from 0 to 500, which represents the strength.

Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 4.00.50 PM.png 42.4 KB
Not just a number... TWO NUMBERS!

And THAT.. my friends, is the fascinating story of why Perspectiva has TWO numbers to display streaks.

Fascinating isn't it, lonely reader-whos-the-only-one-who-got-this-far?

If you've read this far, you might want to check out our app Perspectiva; a spartan-looking journal for people who struggle with journaling. Sure, it's not the prettiest, but it's the one that will help you stick with journaling once and for all!

Enter PIN to unlock