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When does a streak become a habit?

A conversation with a colleague years ago in Chicago.

He: “Heard you started doing meditation?”

Me (feeling rather smug): “Yeah. I took this class at Himalayan Institute 4 months ago and I continued after class got over. I may have acquired a life long habit.”

He (with an ominous look): “Lifelong, eh?”

Me: “Well.. I can’t remember the last time I did anything new THIS long! I seem to like it. And there are no unpleasant side effects either.”

He: “I learnt to play the Carnatic flute for 7 years from the legendary N. Ramani. During those 7 years, I practiced every single day.. I loved practicing, I loved performing occasionally. And then I stopped one day. After I joined college. It’s over 15 years since I played the flute!”

*****

I believe that meditation streak lasted 6 months. Some years later — a different meditation school, 4 month streak. Still more years later, an 8 month streak (which is the maximum I have achieved to date).

I recall the flute story every time I get smug about any of my newfangled habit streaks. Heck – I don’t take my 10+ years of running for granted. Anything could happen. In fact, I’ve been in a state of falling-off-the-running-horse for most of the past year. Let’s see what 2020 has in store for me.

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