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365 Days of GitHub

Today marks my 365th consecutive day of commits.

365 Days of GitHub

This isn’t as impressive as it might first seem. I did do some work every day, but I also took time off to read, exercise, socialize, and generally have fun. Writing code is part of my life, not all of it.

To those who want to try something similar, I offer some (hopefully useful) advice.

First and most importantly, you have to want to do it. Without an innate desire, only inhuman willpower could sustain a year-long streak. Notice that I said want instead of like. There’s a difference between liking and wanting. I rarely enjoy writing code, but I find myself compelled to do it.[1] If you like doing this stuff, more power to you. I started my streak mostly because I wanted to work on Floobits stuff.

When you’re starting off, it’s easy to forget and miss a day. A simple alarm or calendar event can help. I missed a couple of days early on, but now I have a mental itch that persists each day until I’ve done something.

While it’s usually a good idea to keep your identity small, identity psychology can occasionally work for you. If you view yourself as a prodigious committer, you’ll be more motivated to continue your streak.

It can also be helpful to brag about your streak. You’ll be motivated to continue the streak simply to avoid future embarrassment by your peers.[2]

I know I’ll break the streak eventually, but it’s fun to see how long I can go. If you’re unsure you want to try something like this, I recommend giving it a shot. GitHub has made it extremely easy to get into the habit of being productive every day.

  1. This has been the case for as long as I can remember. When I was 12, I spent two days trying to fix a bug in a CS121 assignment. I was almost in tears by the end of it. Finally, I asked my dad for help. He saw the if (a = b) immediately. A modern compiler would warn about an assignment in a conditional, but I was writing this in 1998 on an HP-UX machine. I don’t why I wanted to keep programming after that. Any sane person would have chosen a different career.

  2. This is one of the reasons I’m writing this post. :)

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