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How to gamify your life

How to gamify your life

Let’s continue our pursuit toward becoming more playful, shall we? Last week, I talked about how you can use improv’s concept of finding the game to start priming yourself to find fun patterns on the daily. This week, it’s all about how you can gamify your life.

What’s Gamifying?

Gamifying is fairly straightforward. You turn something mundane or commonplace or even undesirable into a game.

Let’s think about what makes games games.

Games have rules. These rules make it clear how to win or lose the game, which is another prerequisite. And oftentimes, you can score points during a game. Games also include competition, even if you’re competing against yourself. And finally, games have prizes when you win, even if the prize is just bragging rights.

In the broadest sense, if you’re adding game elements to an activity, you’re gamifying it.

Can you Give me Some Examples?

Yes, I can. There are lots of great examples of gamification at work. or play? But I only want to talk about the ones that have hooked me personally at one point or another.

How to gamify your life

I went through an entire summer of drinking multiple cappuccinos a day at all sorts of unusual, non-coffee-appropriate times, because of this super gamified app.

How does it work? You get reward points every time you buy something. These accumulate until you win something like. oh I don’t know. more free cappuccinos. There are also sneaky double reward times. Basically, the app learns what you like to eat and drink and uses it against your will to make you buy things you didn’t even want. Because it is a game, and you gotta get those points and earn those rewards.

I still have caffeine hallucination flashbacks on occasion.

How to gamify your life

Second and final example, My Fitness Pal’s calorie tracker. Really most fitbit-type step counters are gamification at work. The points are either your steps or activity or your calories. But calories would be more like golf; you want less points.

Either way, you keep score throughout your day. The other game element to these apps and trackers are the competition. Most have a social element where you compete with people and keep each other accountable for your goals.

So How Can I Gamify my Life?

Good question. Glad you asked.

Let’s think about the elements of play: rules, points, competition, winning, and losing.

Now, let’s think about something you don’t like doing. Dusting?

Let’s gamify dusting. You could race against the clock and try to dust the whole house in a set time limit. You could earn points for each piece of furniture you dust, and if you get a certain amount of points you win. something. Maybe a martini or a handbag or. 6 days in which you do not have to dust.

Now we’re having fun, aren’t we?

Gamify your Life with Play your Way Sane

Play your Way Sane features tons of everyday games that help you become more playful, mindful, joyous, and connected. Some of those everyday games are gamified, meaning they turn mundane activities into games by adding elements like points, competition, and winning and losing.

Here are some Play your Way Sane gamified games:

1. Sidewalk Bombs

How to gamify your life

Sidewalk Bombs is kind of like the Lava Game you may have played as a kid. You know, when you pretend that the room is filling with lava so you have to hop up onto the furniture to avoid having your skin burnt off by scalding hot lava.

To play Sidewalk Bombs, it’s best to be walking, running, or driving somewhere. To pass the time, pretend that if you don’t make it past a certain landmark at a certain time, everything explodes. So you definitely have winning and losing here. You can add more game elements by playing multiple times and keeping score. You can add a layer of competition by trying to beat your old Sidewalk Bombs score.

Passes the time while you’re commuting. For sure.

2. Red Car

How to gamify your life

Red Car is a classic road trip game, kind of like the license plate game. You gamify being in your car by making spotting red cars a competition. Count as many red cars as you can in a set time span or you can play against someone else, first to get to ten wins.

It passes the time and makes traveling more fun. And that’s gamification in action.

3. High Fives for Everyone

How to gamify your life

It’s no secret that I’m a big high-five fan. It’s super hard to high-five while frowning. For real. Try it.

High-fives are a fun way to connect with others. They’re active and energetic and more than a little silly.

So, you can gamify high-fiving by trying to high-five a certain number of people in a certain amount of time. Or you can try to high-five more people today than you did yesterday.

It’s a fun way to gamify your life, connect with people, and put a smile on your face. And probably other people’s faces.

Final Thoughts on Gamifying your Life

In order to become more playful, you can simply turn mundane activities into games. Gamifying means adding points, scoring, competition, and winning and losing to make everyday tasks more engaging and exciting.

Gamifying is a great motivator. It’s the spoonful of sugar that makes Mary Poppins’ medicine go down.

So, create your own gamification by turning daily activities into games yourself.

And if you want a secret, free, bonus, awesome, extra monthly game, just subscribe below, and I’ll send you a free bonus game to your inbox each month.

How to gamify your life

If you’re struggling with motivation or productivity at work, the answer might lie in gamification. Gamification turns your boring to-do list, mundane chores or healthy habits into a role-playing (RPG) game where you can earn points, collect badges and level up. If you’ve ever used a fitness tracker, it’s the same concept — you can earn badges and rewards for your workouts and healthy lifestyle goals to help you stay motivated.

PokemonGo, designed as an augmented reality game, even managed to gamify walking for a lot of players, with researchers at Stanford and Microsoft suggesting it helped significantly increase physical activity for users. Gamifying your life might be the answer to staying motivated, productive and to develop new habits; these five apps will help you make your everyday to-do list fun again.

Habitica

Image by Habitica

Habitica uses the basic principles of an RPG game to help you “motivate yourself to do anything.” When you complete a task, you can earn gold that can be used to spend on virtual rewards like armor and equipment, or even real-life rewards, like watching an extra hour of television that day. Tasks, goals and habits can all be categorized differently, and you can use the app to track new habits you want to develop. They also include narratives, transforming things as boring as doing your dishes into a quest to clear a polluted lake of dirty dishes.

To keep you accountable, if you don’t complete a task or if you miss a goal, your health and stats will take a hit, making it a great way to keep on top of your work schedule and track your productivity. If you find Habitica helps you stay on track at work, and you think your department might benefit from gamification, there are even corporate plans for organizations. You can download Habitica in the Apple App Store for iOS and Google Play store for Android, it’s free to join but there are in-app purchases.

Epic Win

Image by Rexbox & SuperMono

Epic Win is another RPG, quest-like, gamified productivity app that wants to make your to-do list, work day and chores more fun. You can manage a variety of categories like repeating tasks, reminders for overdue events and you can even set loftier “aspirational quests” that are goals you want to complete in the future. Each time you complete a task, your avatar gets to go into battle, where it gets to crush things like your monthly reports, laundry or workouts. Different tasks also boost different skills – for example, doing laundry will increase your stamina points.

If you love classic RPG games, 8-bit graphics and friendly competition, Epic Win can bring all of those elements right into your work day. Epic Win is available for $1.99 on iOS and it’s free for Android, but includes ads within the app.

LifeRPG

Image by Jayvant Javier Pujara

Unlike Habitica and Epic Win, LifeRPG doesn’t feature the same cartoon design elements, opting for a sleeker, more professional looking user interface. However, you still earn the same type of points and rewards, but in the form of experience points or gaining skills like health or strength. You can set a “parent mission,” and within each mission, you can adjust different attributes like difficulty, urgency and how stressed or fearful you are of completing that task. The app will use that information, along with your self-reported energy levels, to help you sort missions by priority. If you’re having a low-energy day, it will suggest lighter, simpler tasks, but if you’re in top-shape, it might prompt you to tackle a more stressful or difficult project.

It’s a great choice for anyone who wants to use a gamified productivity app for work, because you can keep notes and ideas within each mission and even break down a project into sub-missions. You can set your own reward system, dictating how you win or lose points and what rewards you will win for completing missions. LifePRG is available for free on Android in the Google Play store, but it does include in-app purchases. Apple users are out of luck, however, since this app hasn’t made its way to the iOS yet.

Task Hammer

Image by MDJ Software

Task Hammer follows the fantasy quest model of others on this list, but features more realistic avatars that are free of the cartoony video game design you’ll find in apps like Habitica and Epic Win. It’s a straight forward, no frills gamified productivity app that motivates you through either daily routines or “epic quests.” You can choose different paths in the game, like barbarian, rogue or sorceress, and earning points helps you level up your charter. Tasks can be assigned different attributes and levels of importance; users can also include notes about the task as well as set repeating due dates.

It’s a great choice if you don’t want to get bogged down in features, but appreciate the fantasy narrative of an RPG game. Task Hammer is currently only available for Android users — it can be downloaded for free in the Google Play store.

SuperBetter

Image by SuperBetter, LLC

SuperBetter also follow the RPG theme, but with a more sophisticated user interface than the fantasy RPG apps on this list and more like LifeRPG. The app is designed to help you get “super better” at different skills, tasks, productivity or even to “get better” at overcoming setbacks or recovering from long-term illness or injury. Instead of an avatar, the points represent your personal health, strength and resiliency, making it a more personalized experience. At work, it can help you manage not only your daily tasks, but even your mood or habits you want to develop. You can select from different “power ups” that might be as simple as “chug a glass of water,” or “take a small leap.” There are also “Power Packs,” that give you different strategies and steps to try to manage things like low motivation, anxiety or insomnia.

SuperBetter is a great option if you not only want to hammer out your to-do list on a regular basis, but develop new habits and skills that will benefit you at work and in your personal life. The app is available for free in the Apple App Store and in the Google Play store.

How to gamify your life

There are a lot of ways to motivate yourself. You can use something like a to-do list app or a calendar app to stay on schedule. A lot of folks use goals and other motivations. Those aren’t your only options, either. Life RPGs are one of the most unique options in this space. It’s basically a to-do list app, but you earn experience points and level up as you do the things you are supposed to do.

It kind of turns your life into a tabletop game. From there you take your mundane daily tasks like eating, brushing your teeth, exercising, etc, and turn them into quests that you complete every day. It’s a bit silly, but for many it’s effective. Here are the best life RPG apps for Android.

The best real life RPG apps for Android

Do It Now

Price: Free / $2.49 per month / $18.99 per year / $45.99 once

How to gamify your life

Do It Now has a fairly basic UI, but it’s among the most customizable life RPG apps on the list. Your life basically plays out on a Dungeons & Dragons style character sheet. You get points for things like charisma, willpower, and stuff like that. From there, you can set yourself to learn any task and give yourself a specific reward for doing so.

There is also a calendar function, reminders, organizational tools, and fancy stat charts. There is a subscription cost for extras like no ads, more themes, etc or you can pay $45.99 once. That’s really expensive, but at least you can avoid subscriptions and that’s a good thing.

How to gamify your life

This is one of my favourite quotes that functions as a reminder in my life. I don’t believe we need to suffer and struggle all the way to achieve our goals. Do we need to work hard? Yes. Do we need to make the effort? Yes. Do we need to step out of our comfort zones? Probably. However, we are not destined to suffer. I think that playfulness is important and we can enjoy the journey by having a playful approach to life. In this article, I collected 10 methods on how you can implement some gamification principles to your life to grasp the benefits of playfulness.

  1. Social influence: You can document your progress on different social media platforms such as on Instagram or on Facebook or you can collect data by using a simple Excel table. Use one Excel table with a friend or accountability partner and compete with each other! Social influence is an excellent tool to stay on track and motivated as there is at least one person who follows your journey and personal improvement. It is also fun to set goals and face challenges together with an accountability buddy!
  2. Get out of your comfort zone: EVERY SINGLE DAY. I know you think it is a cliché to mention but it is definitely a great way to gamify your life. In a game your main character needs to overcome a lot of challenges otherwise it would be boring to play. The same applies to real-life situations as well. Do something small every day for at least 30 days which makes you step out of your comfort zone. For example: discover a new restaurant or a bar in your city, or do a daily task differently than you usually do. Try out a new healthy recipe or a new meal. Read a book on a topic you know nothing about. The possibilities are endless! Just don’t pick the safe choice! “Every time you’re making a choice, one choice is the safe/comfortable choice, and one choice is the risky/uncomfortable choice. The risky/uncomfortable choice is the one that will teach you the most and make you grow the most, so that’s the one you should choose.” — said Karen X. Cheng, the owner of Waffle, the popular creative agency.
  3. Spontaneous-intuitive nights: When I was a university student I loved testing what we learned in our psychology classes. With my best friend we invented the so-called ‘spontaneous-intuitive nights’. What does this mean? We met at a random place in the city, we closed our eyes (sometimes we sat down on a bench and started meditating) to focus on the present moment and then we listened to our intuition and followed where it went. This technique helped us develop a playful approach to life and not to take life too seriously. It is also a great method if you want to learn how not to care about what others think of you. We simply followed our gut instincts and we had an excellent time! By using this technique, we could enjoy open-air concerts, drank cocktails in newly built bars and had interesting conversations with strangers. You can also test what happens if you follow your intuition for a few hours or you can expand this challenge to do it for an entire month! That will definitely be a fun and exciting month! 🙂
  4. Define challenges for yourself! Create challenges for yourself that inspires and maybe frightens you a bit at the same time. You can define month-long challenges for each of the 12 months of the year and you can choose different topics you focus on in each month. For example, Playful September, Productive October, Intuitive November are a few examples I tested. You can also set smaller challenges for you, too. For instance, you decide to solve a certain problem within 1 hour instead of 2. With this, you train your mind to think more creatively and you can utilize this knowledge and mindset in similar situations in the future, as well.
  5. Collect points/scores! In most games a score is a quantitative indicator of success. How to use scores in real life? Jot down your biggest goal and identify a few milestones (sub-goals) as well. Write down the next steps under the first subgoal and start accomplishing them to reach your goal/subgoal. Cross out or put a tick next to each of the accomplished tasks. Each step equals one point. Make the firm decision that after collecting 10, 20, 30 or 50 points you reward yourself with something. Define your rewards beforehand. It is more interesting if the value of the reward is commensurable to the number of the collected points. So, if you have accomplished 10 points, you can, i.e., present yourself with a bottle of wine or a snack you can eat without feeling guilty. After 25 or 50 points, your gift can be a full day of relaxation/ self-care day when you can do whatever you feel like.
  6. Self-love: Self-love is crucial no matter what you do. Identify certain activities you love doing for only the sake of the activity. Just out of intrinsic motivation. Do these activities more often and mindfully! Savour the moments!
  7. Level-up! In most of the games, there are different levels you can reach. Let’s suppose, there is a scale from 1 to 10, where at 10 everything is just ideal or perfect and at 1 it is the exact opposite. Where are you on this scale right now? Which level are you at this moment? Now, suppose you have managed to take a step forward on the scale so you have levelled-up. What will be different on the next level?
  8. Enjoy your playfulness: A game would be lame if it wasn’t fun and exciting. You should spend more time exploring and experimenting like in your childhood. Try new things. Take new risks. Meet new people. Explore playfulness creatively.
  9. FRPT – Fixed Reward Point Theory: This is my personal theory I developed for myself. FRPT means you define one deadline maximum 2-3 months ahead of time (so within a reasonable time) where a reward is waiting for you. You are 100% sure the reward is there and you become super excited even thinking about it. For me, this reward can be a forthcoming travel trip to an as-yet-unknown destination and I’ve already bought the plane tickets. (So there is real evidence this reward is waiting for me there). Due to the fact I will have an excellent time shortly, I am working even harder in the present to feel that my travel trip is well-deserved. This technique works perfectly for me when I know there is a lot of work in front of me and I need extra motivation and focus. Your reward can be anything that makes you exuberantly joyous and it is within a reasonable time frame to make you motivated. If it is 6 months in the future it doesn’t have that big impact on your present reality.
  10. Vision: In the world of gamification the emphasis is not just on the goals and projects but on building a big, inspiring vision which you can strengthen every day. Visualization is a proven method that is used both in business and sports psychology. Try to visualize the desired outcome you wish for as vividly and rich in details as much you can. Do this at least 15-20 minutes per day and see what happens. After a few weeks, you will realize that you can notice more opportunities in your environment that support your goals. You become more inspired and motivated, as well. You can boost this method if you practice visualization while listening to upbeat/motivation music.

If you find the idea of gamification interesting and would like to gamify your life in a personalized way don’t hesitate to contact me on the e-mail address below to schedule a coaching session or click on the Contact menu.

How to gamify your life

Life is a game.. Don't believe me. Let's look at those who've learned the rules and learned how to play it vs those who haven't. The rules revolve around the Five Core areas of life directly correlated to happiness, and the habits within them stemming from universal principles.

Visual learning has taken hold and there's no going back. If used correctly, it can replace the world's declining capacity to pay attention. Utilizing the same science and technology behind this trend, humans can forge a new path forward in our quest for happiness. Our new path forward is 100% dependent on our ability to momentify our happiness by harnessing the immense power that currently lies at our fingertips

Stan Lee was right: "With great power there must also come great responsibility."

Ready Player One? Read on.

How to gamify your life

How to gamify your life

1) Become Aware of your Glitchy Code

The system we all grow up in that determines how happy we'll be is broken. Our knowledge is outpacing our wisdom in that we're so enthralled with the fact that we can do something, we forget to stop and ask if we should.

Our current “social dilemma” has products fully integrated into our daily lives being run by companies whose #1 goal is to monetize our attention – whatever the cost.

The first step to gamifying your life is to become aware of the failure habits that have sprung from this broken system to determine what success habits you'll want to replace them with.

The more success habits you build, the more you'll upgrade your belief system as you step into your success loop. And you'll want to do this in the main areas scientifically correlated to happiness – your 5 cores.

How to gamify your life

2) Gamify Your Life to Build Momentum

The next step is to develop a system. We all have systems, but as mentioned above, most of them come from one that is itself in desperate need of repair. Self discipline, a key ingredient to happiness, is quickly fading with our increased ability to get anything we want delivered at the click of a button. Everything but our happiness of course.

The Moore Momentum System leverages game-like elements such as points, rewards, competition, and social connectivity so you WANT to take those actions you struggle so much with. It reduces the friction of forming success habits by making it fun and addictive to level-up one small step at a time.

There's no cheat code to happiness, but there is a way to combine science with universal principles (the rules of the game) to work for instead of against you.

How to gamify your life

3) Master the Game of Life

Mastering the game of life won't be easy – no fun game ever is. The good news is that replacing your habits in all Five Cores is hard until it isn't. Habits don't care if they're good or bad, so once you get over the initial front-loaded hump, your success habits will work on autopilot building momentum the same way those failure habits kept you grounded.

Think of your life up till now as a novice gamer. You were given bad instructions on how to play and as a result have been stuck on Level 1 in your failure loop. Now you're being given the game manual containing the information and strategies to fully equip your character with the upgrades needed to get to the next level. and the next, and the next. 1-UP achieved.

Your Epic Quest is to get what I call "The Equation Of Life" working FOR instead of against you. Hitting the reset button on your broken belief system to center around your Five Cores, and shifting your actions so they start forming the success habits that will compound you into a winning player.

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An acquaintance recently wrote to me about her daughter, Olivia. Olivia is a 29-year-old diabetic woman on the autism spectrum. These days, she regularly walks a 2-mile trek through her small, rural community in the western United States. But only a few years ago, she hardly walked at all. She doesn’t drive, so she would walk to the grocery store or to restaurants near her house if no one was around to drive her, but otherwise she found walking boring and preferred to stay home. Then she downloaded Pokémon GO.

Growing up in the late 1990s, Olivia was a big Pokémon fan. So when Pokémon GO came out in 2016, she was excited to start playing again. The game uses your phone’s GPS and clock to detect where and when you’re in the game and make Pokémon characters “appear” around you so you can go and catch them. Soon after downloading the game, Olivia started taking her 2-mile walks. That route was the best for catching Pokémon. The game gave her a reason to go out and walk—this was the Pokémon journey she’d dreamed of going on since she was 10 years old.

Olivia’s isn’t the only story I’ve heard about Pokémon GO motivating more exercise. In fact, the game was a big reason my eight-year-old son and I started taking walks around our neighborhood, and it was so wildly popular when it first came out that researchers estimate the game added 144 billion steps across the US at its peak, in summer 2016. It was so successful that people blamed Pokémon GO for getting too many distracted walkers out on the streets.

Pokémon GO motivated so much exercise—more than other exercise apps—because it relied on people’s intrinsic motivation. It turned walking into a game.

There are three ways to make a boring or difficult activity more intrinsically motivating. First, we have the aptly named “make-it-fun” strategy, which as you might guess involves making an activity fun. The make-it-fun strategy actively associates immediate incentives (i.e., minigoals) with pursuing the activity. These incentives harness our need for instant gratification and thereby make a previously dull activity more exciting, letting us experience it as its own end. For example, when Cornell’s Kaitlin Woolley and I (to the chagrin of some teachers) encouraged high-school math students to listen to music, eat snacks, and use brightly colored pens while doing their math assignment, we found that the students worked longer. Doing math was fun because it delivered immediate auditory, taste, and visual benefits. Catching a Pokémon is also an immediate incentive for Pokémon GO players.

Gym goers who chose a weight-lifting exercise they enjoyed completed about 50 percent more repetitions than those who chose an exercise they thought would be most effective.

People frequently apply this principle to make it fun when they bundle goals with temptations. Associating completing a workout with watching TV or working on a school assignment with listening to music is what’s known as temptation bundling. This strategy is particularly effective if you limit yourself to engaging in the tempting activity only while pursuing the goal. So, for example, you only let yourself eat a square of chocolate while answering your many work emails. Incorporating these temptations increases intrinsic motivation to pursue your goals. It’s critical, however, that the rewards are immediate. Adding a delayed reward, such as earning five squares of chocolate by the end of the workweek, won’t work.

The second strategy in the motivation-science tool kit is to find a fun path. When you set a goal and have to think about the path you’ll take to get there, factor in immediate enjoyment. For example, people who want to exercise more should consider finding workouts that sound fun. Rather than slogging away on a bike at the gym, try a spin class that uses upbeat music to keep you engaged. For people who like metal, some New York City spin studios offer “Death Cycle” classes in which instructors blast metal music while everyone works out. This is an effective strategy. As Woolley and I found in a study, gym goers who chose a weight-lifting exercise they enjoyed completed about 50 percent more repetitions than those who chose an exercise they thought would be most effective. Of course, you do still have to choose an activity that will ultimately help you accomplish your goal. If you’re exercising to get fit, low-impact yoga probably won’t help much. But when you have a set of activities that will accomplish the same goal, try to choose the one you’ll find most fun.

The third strategy is to notice the fun that already exists. If you focus on the immediate rather than delayed benefits for pursuing an activity, you’ll likely feel more intrinsically motivated and therefore be more likely to keep at it. Imagine you want to eat more carrots. If you focus on what you like about eating carrots—they’re crunchy, sweet, and a little earthy—rather than the fact that carrots are a healthy snack or the idea that they might improve your eyesight, you’ll be more likely to eat them. This is just what Woolley and I found in a study when we had people choose between two identical bags of baby carrots. We asked some people to choose the tastier-looking bag and some the healthier-looking bag. People ate almost 50 percent more when asked to choose the bag of carrots that looked tastier. Simply directing your attention to the immediate positive experience—to the extent that it exists—when making a choice will help you stick to your goals.

If you’re regular to my blogs you’ll know by now that I’ve written a few pieces on how you can use games and gamification to improve your life. Some are on how to get smarter, others are on how to create better goals, and some are on how to change your own thinking. There are much more as well, but to follow the line set out by the other posts, in this one I’d like to tackle with you, a way to gamify your journey and search to discover your strengths and weaknesses.

You will basically be going on a quest, and this quest needs to be outlined through a framework, your journey. To do this we’ll be using another previous post, the User’s Journey framework. This framework is based on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s journey and has been made to help you look at your life as a game. Hopefully, from this perspective, it will help foster creativity in you and lay some boundaries down for you to work with.

Remember though that not everything is always in the journey you choose, just like not everything is possible in one go in life. You may need multiple journeys, quests that link in with each other. Therefore, you will need your creativity to think about how you want to go about achieving your quests goals with the limitations that you and life set out.

Life is non-linear, quests are linear

What you must understand when using the User’s Journey, is that it is a linear outline, unlike life in general, which is very much non-linear. Therefore, you must use the journey as a stepping stone, for a short period you will have things planned out, and beyond that, you will need to do the work to plan again and take what life throws at you and work with that. The journey framework is basically a plan for a quest of discovery, it is not an outline for a way of life.

And as with many things in life, it’s not always clear what you’re searching for or where, but with a framework, you have a better idea.

“Often, human talents are like the world’s natural resources. They’re buried under the ground; you don’t know that they’re there until you go actively searching for them and try to develop them.” — Sir Ken Robinson

Actively searching and discovering what your strengths are, even with a journey outline is not going to be easy. It’s going to take time and effort. It’s not an afternoon workshop for 9.99 that guarantees enlightenment or your money back. Depending on the individual undertaking the journey and the quest, it will take days, weeks, months, or longer. Be prepared to be in it for the long haul. And most importantly you will need the ability for personal reflection, self-awareness, and mindfulness. All of those activities actually inter-relate, so don’t worry about how to get one of them. Reflecting on a daily basis, being mindful, meditating and improving self-awareness all strengthen each other. So simply start with one and keep at it.

Understanding strengths & weaknesses

The first fallacy we need to get rid of with many self-help concepts is that discovering your strengths and weaknesses isn’t about finding out what to do with your life. And this is why I prefer the idea of outlining a journey and going on a quest of discovery, because you will be the hero, and as with many heroes in games and stories, they find out and improve their attributes as they go through the journey.

So, the first step in planning your journey is thinking about what you currently feel you are good at and what you’re not good at. This isn’t a question yet of what you enjoy or not. Just think about what are the highest levels of your life character’s attributes. Brainstorm it for a while and maybe make a mind map to help you.

Ok, now that you’ve done that, you’ve essentially gathered the prep gear for your journey. Now for the second step, we’re going to refine it so that we have the best starting position for our journey creation later on. Therefore, the next step is to make the decision of whether you wish to pursue something as a career, i.e. get paid for it, or that you wish to enjoy it outside of a career, i.e. be an “amateur” practitioner or hobbyist of what you’re good at.

When doing this, do remember to not to try and think about strengths as those things that will give you heaps of cash, and weaknesses as things that will make you poor. It’s better to think about it in terms of what makes you happy and unhappy, or even better: what brings you joy and what makes you bored.

The third step comes after you have created your journey and gone through it as you have determined it. This is also where the ability to reflect and be self-aware comes in handy, here you will need to accept what you have determined are your strengths and weaknesses. More often than not the list isn’t what you would like it to be. You may be good at something, but you don’t actually enjoy doing it. But don’t worry too much about that just yet, as long as you that that is at the end of your first journey, that’s good enough for now.

Opportunity is the spice of life, right?

One of the steps in the User’s Journey is going through trials and experiments to discover a solution to your problem. The problem here is to fully determine what your strengths and weaknesses are, no way to solve this is by using to that step to add random activities to your life.

“Whether or not you discover your talents and passions is partly a matter of opportunity.” — Sir Ken Robinson

Allow yourself the opportunity to experience more and to take more chances. “Opportunity events” are important, as strengths may only appear and align with a specific experience at a specific time, for example, the job you take or the project you choose to do will reveal some strengths to you.

Opportunities, therefore, can be seen as mini-goals. Knowing what your short-term goals are will create those opportunities for you to discover those strengths. Unfortunately, though, you will probably realize from that statement that with life, that situation will be a little bit like the chicken and the egg situation, which comes first? In that case, perhaps the first step to your strength discovery gamification is, in fact, gamifying your goals. If not, then hopefully this exercise of gamifying your strength discovery will help you determine and refine you short to long-term life goals.

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Habitica is largely based on gamification, or putting real-life tasks in the context of a game to make them more engaging, interesting, and rewarding. Naming your Habits, Dailies, and To Do’s in a creative, gamified way is a great way to add flavor to your game.

While Habitica is generally geared towards a medieval theme, players can also adapt the game to other RPG styles. These may include themes such as zombies, cyberpunk, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, science fiction, and more.

How to gamify your life

Contents

Example Habits [ ]

These are some Habits that could be modified to be more game-like. They accurately describe what the player wants to complete or avoid, but in plain English.

Use the stairs / take the elevator

Work on creative project

Re-writing these tasks in an RPG style can make your list more engaging and fun to check off. To avoid being confused later, you can describe the activity in the “Extra Notes” while editing the task.

Ascend the spire without magic

Partake of pinguid provende

One does not simply walk into Starbucks

Perfect your craft

Example Dailies [ ]

These are some examples of Dailies that can be gamified as well.

The RPG versions can be written as follows:

Pore over the map

Swing the Ban-hammer

Adding Custom or In-Game Images to Tasks [ ]

Habitica supports emoji and markdown, which can be used to insert images in the title of any Habit, Daily, To Do, or Reward.

Adding an emoji to the task name or notes is as simple as using an emoji elsewhere in Habitica – Use the emoji nickname surrounded by a colon :

To insert an image, use the following Markdown code:

An example of a semi-gamified Daily using an image of an axe from Habitica

Enter the full URL of your image, which must be hosted somewhere on the web (note that the link must be to the actual image not the page it is hosted on and will end in .png or .jpg). The “optional mouseover title” will appear when you hover over the image. (The alt text doesn’t display, but it must be present.) The image may be larger than a single line of text, which will increase the size of the task box. If this is undesirable, use a smaller image.

You can use your own custom images to give your tasks the flavor of a particular theme or fandom. A good way to find appropriate images is to search for “icons”; for example, a search for “Game of Thrones icons” or “space icons” will turn up many small images. If you want to use images from your own computer, an easy way to create a web link is to put the images on Dropbox.

You can also use the images of Habitica! An easy way to find in-game images for your tasks is to look on the wiki; for example, the equipment page has images of all the weapons and armor from Habitica, and the pets page has images of all the in-game pets. Right-click on an image and select “Copy image URL” to save the URL of the image to your clipboard. You can then paste it into the Markdown code given above.

Before using any images to gamify your list, it is best to ask the image creator for permission first, even if the images are from an open source project.

Legendary Quests [ ]

How to gamify your life

Are you writing your dissertation, or completing the Twelve Labors of Hercules? You decide. Use the “Add Checklist” option when editing your tasks.

Another way to gamify your lists is to reproduce a quest from a favorite piece of fiction. This approach especially will require notes to help you remember the actual tasks since there’s little chance that the details will align well enough for the titles to help; however, if pretending you’re hunting Horcruxes or bringing the One Ring to Mordor helps you finish a project, why not give yourself a fantasy edge?

Hybrid Video Game Tasks [ ]

You can take elements from your favorite video games to give your tasks more flavor. Do you have a favorite spell or ability from a video game? Or do certain game mechanics remind you of consequences in real life? For example, if you are prone to distraction, taking fall damage (a common game mechanic) may be an apt metaphor. Here are a few example Habits inspired by the Warcraft universe:

How to gamify your life

Computer games make it fun to confront obstacles. Wouldn’t it be great if your real-life obstacles were as much fun to tackle? Now there are tools that “gamify” everyday life, to tap into the motivating power of computer games.

Whether you want to reach a goal, kick a bad habit, or manage a workforce, you can gamify the choices to help make better ones. Here are two free tools for doing that, and the science of why they work.

HabitRPG
This free app lets you design the positive and negative behaviors that advance or damage your avatar. You enter your real life actions into the role playing game throughout the day, and watch your avatar move toward a new level or to its death. You get to weight tasks according to your real priorities, but if you neglect a task, the system increases its weight to get your attention.

The motivating power of this tool is impressive. You can tie it to real rewards, perhaps tying the new episode of the Mindy Project to spending an hour on your paper and cooking a vegetable dish. Or you can focus on the varied in-game rewards. What if you just eat cake on the couch and let your avatar die? Graphic feedback on the consequences of your actions help you take a realistic look at your choices. The game makes it fun to be accountable.

How to gamify your life

Community is part of the fun. User groups have been created for mutual support on specific goals and habits. You can join a team-based “quest,” where your choices will affect the scores of your team mates, and vice versa. And you could tackle one of the open “challenges” to progress with others toward a meaningful goal. This app is being used to manage complex mental health and life transition challenges as well as familiar self-management goals like productivity and health. User communities span the globe in all age groups, and there’s ample room to shape it to your personal needs.

MyObjectives
You can gamify your organization and your worklife with MyObjectives. Each employee’s job responsibilities are transformed into a quarterly scorecard through a consultative process. Your MyObjectives scorecard tells you exactly what you need to do to get the rewards you seek. You always know where you stand with clear graphic progress indicators. It’s a team-based tool, so your progress affects your team, and vice versa. This tool is currently in open beta testing, so your organization can apply to access it at no cost.

How to gamify your life

The human brain is continually making decisions about where to invest its energy. In a world of information overload, it’s hard to allocate your energy among competing goals. Tools that help you do that are extremely valuable. That’s why “management by gaming” is a growing trend.

Management by gaming can make work more fun because it stimulates the brain chemicals that make us feel good. Dopamine is released when you approach something that meets your needs. We step toward distant uncertain goals to meet our needs, and dopamine is only stimulated when you see progress. Clear graphic evidence of progress toward a goal stimulates the great feeling of dopamine.

Oxytocin is the brain chemical that makes us feel good when we trust and feel trusted. Team-based gaming tools help stimulate the good feeling that you have social support in your quest for survival. Serotonin is the brain chemical that makes us feel good when we compare favorably to others. No one likes to admit to this thought process, but we can all see that it’s a huge dynamic in daily life. Our brains are always looking for ways to enjoy the good feeling of social importance without the bad feeling of conflict. Computer games are a great way to do that! Workplace scorecards give each individual a clear path to shine without the dysfunctions well known in organizations.

We need tools to make choices explicit
Gamificiation make choices explicit. You may think your choices are obvious already, but much of your decision process is just a flow of electricity down the most accessible pathway. The electricity in your brain flows like water in a storm – it finds the path of least resistance. Your electricity will flow effortlessly into the channels you built up before.

That feels normal and natural so it feels like something is wrong when you try to redirect it – even if you’re making a better choice. You keep doing things you did done before until you figure out how to electrify new pathways. Gaming tools help you activate alternatives in your brain that you may not have found with your conscious process.

We need tools to make life fun
Our brain evolved to focus on survival. The mammal brain releases happy chemicals when it sees a way for you to meet a survival need. It would be nice if your happy chemicals just flowed all the time, but that’s not how your brain is designed to work. You may think people in other times and places were happy all the time, but that’s an illusion. Your ancestors didn’t know where their next meal was coming from, so signs of food made them happy. People today are curiously focused on food and securing resources because that’s the job our brain is designed to do.

We have harnessed this cockamamy operating system to do great things. We learn to focus on distant goals once immediate needs are met. But it’s hard! Our brains need frequent reassurance that we are on the path to rewards. That’s why nice graphic proof is so appealing.

How to gamify your life

The fun factor is illuminated by game design expert, Nicole Lazzaro. She researched the pleasure of gaming and detected four different kinds of “fun” responses: hard fun (the pleasure of accomplishing a difficult task), easy fun (the pleasure of novel stimuli), serious fun (the joy of building confidence in your skills or being distracted from distress) and people fun (the perception of social support).