She Gamified Her Life


There are two things you should know about me before delving further.

One: I survive thanks to lists.

If I don't write things down, whether its in one of my myriad notebooks, post its, Evernote, Google Calendar, etc etc etc, it's not going to stay in my squishy grey matter for long. My detailed, color coded, to-do lists have gotten me through college, multiple jobs, and beyond. 

Two: I respond well to bribes. 

I can always push myself through difficult tasks by having a reward in mind, whether that's a fancy chocolate, a pedicure, or any other "treat yo self" type good or service. Previous coworkers knew that I would always do them a favor. But if there were a $5 latte at the end of that favor? I'm gonna be the best favorer who ever favored. 

I had tried bringing the two together in the past. 

"If I cross ten things off this to-do list, I can get a new nail polish."
Led to...
"I mean, seven things is like REALLY close to ten and I might as well get the polish now because I have to go to the store anyway."
Which led to...
"I'm just gonna buy this too because I WILL earn it eventually, right?"

One side of my brain is clearly a better negotiator than the other. We'd never make it on Shark Tank.

Cut to late January when I read about HabitRPG, a "habit building program that treats your life like a Role Playing Game." You create lists of Habits, Daily Tasks, and To-Dos. By marking each done you gain gold, which can be used to equip your avatar or purchase rewards that you've set up. If you miss a daily task or turn your back on a good habit, you get health points taken off. 

This. This I like.

It's such a simple idea, but I don't think I've stuck with something like this for so long. In the past month and a half, thanks to this app, I've made a bunch of little changes that add up to a cleaner, more organized, more zen-like daily life. The to-do list aspect is great but its the Habits and Dailies that have really hit the nail on the head for me. I've washed my face every day since early February. EVERY SINGLE DAY. (Is it gross to admit I wasn't doing this before? If you haven't woken up with mascara smudges all over yourself we probably can't be friends.) I do a set of squats while waiting for the microwave to earn some more gold. It's the pat on the back we all deserve for emptying the dishwasher. 

Some people may have this innate ambition to do this kind of stuff on their own. To either not NEED a reward to do simple every day tasks, or are able to dole out self-treats when they've truly earned it without needing a tracker to stay accountable. I am no such unicorn. And I'm willing to bet I'm not in the minority here. As a former psychology major this is fascinating to me. What is it about this app that is keeping me on track? It would be very simple to "cheat" for more points. There's no HabitRPG police out there. If you cheat, you're only cheating yourself out of self-improvement. I think that's the part that has finally clicked with the older and wiser Molly. 

If you're into Role Playing Games, there's a whole other aspect to the site that includes quests and bosses and working with other people. I haven't delved into that yet, but you don't need to in order to see the real benefit of a program like this.

I'm in no way affiliated with HabitRPG and wasn't asked by anybody to write this post. But I did put it on my to-do list. Show me the gold!

Let me know if you sign up so we can be buddies!

Molly Kerrigan