Getting Your Habits, Projects, and To-Dos Under Control through Gamification

I am officially obsessed with Habitica. Why? Because I’ve taken my vitamins almost every day for the 10+ months I’ve been a member. I’ve also been consistently studying Spanish every day, reading poetry, clearing up clutter, being more productive with my writing, exercising, eating more fruits and vegetables, and getting work done on my house—all at a much faster and more consistent rate than I would have without Habitica. How do I know that? Because, for example, I’ve been meaning to study Spanish consistently for years, but I never quite get to it. And I’ve found myself skipping vitamins for days and even weeks in the past.

I can also tell how much I’ve accomplished because I’m a level 90 warrior, a Beast Master, and I’ve gotten every bit of gear out of the enchanted armoire. Yeah! Woo! I think of Habitica as especially powerful for My avatar and current stats in Habitica.gamers, because the app/site works a lot like a video game, in some ways. It’s limited enough that it’s unlikely to become something you spend major time doing every day, but still engaging enough—through quests and challenges, guilds and parties, and developing your character—that it keeps you coming back. At least, it’s worked that way for me.

The challenges are a part of Habitica that I especially like. Each challenge is hosted in a guild, though there are many challenges hosted in the Tavern, which is essentially the general guild that everyone belongs to. You can join whichever challenges appeal to you, and the dailies, habits, and to-dos associated with it are placed in your task lists. They can focus on almost anything, including reading, fitness and diet, work or school productivity, gardening, hiking, various hobbies, pets, and even psychological or health issues, including addiction. If you win a challenge, you get a permanent notation in your User Achievements list—and sometimes you can win gems. If you respond well to deadlines (some challenges have specific time limits, while others are long-term), and if competition is your thing, these challenges can be especially powerful.

Sample daily activitiesMore generally, completing your various tasks each day earns you points, gold, and “drops,” which include pet eggs, potions for hatching them, and food for feeding them. If you’re in a party (a small group of people who can chat and participate in quests together), you also do damage to the target of your quest with every task completed. And with your party counting on you, not just to do damage to the baddie but to avoid doing damage to them, there’s plenty of incentive to stay focused and get your stuff done.

The site also gets the need to keep it fresh for experienced users. There are new pieces of equipment added monthly to the enchanted armoire; quarterly seasonal grand galas, which include special gear, potions, and other game features; and there are occasional world-wide bosses that everyone fights. Plus, if you subscribe (not required), you get some extra goodies.

One of my favorite things of all, though, is the ability to create challenges. Anyone can create them (read up on the details first, if you want to get started!), and if they’re created in a public guild, anyone can participate. Over the last few months, I’ve created challenges for hiking, donating blood, eating more fruits and veggies, home improvement projects, walking across bridges (bridges are cool!), and more. These challenges help motivate me, but they also motivate different people around the world to go out and do things. Right now, there are 67 people participating in my October Hike challenge, 120 people in the Donate Blood challenge, and 85 people are joining me in my efforts to eat more fruits and veggies. For some of the challenges, I assign people the task of reporting to the guild on how their challenge went. Responses are often thoughtful and fascinating—and sometimes inspiring. And they always leave me feeling like I’ve been able to help make a positive difference in someone’s life—which is really, really cool. Some examples:One of the quest bosses that you and your party can do battle with.

September hike challenge: I was so excited about this challenge. I love to hike, but sometimes have a hard time finding the motivation. But! this challenge helped me find a new favorite hiking spot, a trail in the state park close to my house that I haven’t ever had a chance to hike before. It’s about 5 miles, and follows a lake. So beautiful with fall approaching!!

I just completed the October hike with my fiancée and it was amazing. We were in Beaver Creek CO and hiked to a small beaver pond. It was serene- exactly what I needed with all of the Q4 pressure at work. There’s nothing like a good hike to clear the mind of negativity and provide some perspective about all the things there are to be grateful for. We live on a beautiful planet – do not let anyone tell you otherwise!

A second thank you to @Meriah! We’re halfway through October and I’ve eaten more fruits and veggies in two weeks than the last three months. But like, literally, I can NOT miss a daily and have found myself at the end of the day like “Oh crap, I need a veggie, what can I eat???” I’ve scarfed down more raw tomatoes with salt (yum!) than I care to admit. 😀 I’m super happy you’ll continue this next month. Thank you!

So, if this sounds like something that might work for you, come join us! The Newbie info on the Habitica Wiki is invaluable. And check out the Challenge…Accepted guild when you join—some of my favorite challenges are there!

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