The Life-Changing Magic of Letting Yourself Take Breaks

Karla Starr
7 min readMar 28, 2023

The Benefits of Being Inconsistent and Having a Psychologically Rich Life

I haven’t posted anything in a while. I mean, a while. I felt guilty at first — I broke my semi-consistent streak, ran the risk of appearing unprofessional, and creates a gap in the newsletter archives.

Plus, if the whole point of me writing online is to connect with like-minded individuals (anyone on a personal journey of self-discovery who also has a zero tolerance policy for bullshit; others who are tired of “That One Neat Trick,” the use of income as a proxy for success, overly simplistic self-help gurus, and rich white guys preaching that the real problem with the impoverished is a fixed mindset), shouldn’t I be writing weekly, if not daily? And I shouldn’t feel bad about my Big-Ass Break?

But to be honest, I don’t feel guilty or bad or weird or anything.

I feel great.

I spent a month traveling around Turkey (including a week spent working as a bartender on a boat). In lieu of posting all of the things on social media, I went the other way and took a break from excessive pixel usage and writing. I’ve read and played video games. I have spent an incalculable number of hours doing absolutely nothing and loving every minute.

I’ve lived, dammit. I just haven’t posted here.

Why We’re Obsessed With Consistency

The current cultural narrative — that any kind of improvement or achievement requires regular, diehard consistency — isn’t going to die easily for a few reasons.

For starters, who on earth is as consistent in every area of life where they wish they were? The mere mention of good habits usually directs our attention to wherever we crave improvement. We all know what it’s like to feel inconsistent at something, skip a few years months days exercising, practicing, reading, studying, creating. We’ve all broken streaks, gotten busy or bored or sick or just plain forgot, only to feel guilty and beat ourselves up for — gulp!! — being human.

Because we’ve all been a) inconsistent, and b) told that unbroken streaks are the way to go, it’s oh-so easy for us to imagine the counterfactuals: I’d have an entirely different life if I just did that one thing on a more regular basis.

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Karla Starr

Speaker & author x2, inc. Making Numbers Count (w/ Chip Heath). Behavioral science, cultural history, numbers.