Everyone has different ways of trying to build good habits and break bad ones. I’m going to share my most recent experience.
A friend of mine over on Google+ recently introduced me to this website called HabitRPG. It’s premise is to gamify your life by offering XP (xpees, or experience points, for you non-gamers) for doing tasks, building habits, accomplishing things. It’s designed to let each individual person set it up how it works for them, and it also allows that person to adjust things on the fly.
HabitRPG is broken down into three groups: Habits – things you want to be better at doing or things you want to stop doing; Dailies – things you do most every day; and Todos – one off items or tasks that need to be done. Think of the Habits as the Big Picture. What are the things that are important to you? Todos are the Little Picture – these are just the tiny mundane things that need to be done, but we usually drag our feet on them. Dailies sit smack in the middle between the two.
Here’s a breakdown of how I list mine and my reasons for it.
My bad habits are waaaay too much soda, not getting up out of my chair often enough, and remembering my vitamins/supplements regularly. Since I would prefer bonuses rather than losses, I set these up so that when I accomplish something, I get xpees. But, I also want to be fair to myself, so I have my soda one set so that I allow myself one bottle/can/glass a day, if I choose water after that, I get a bonus. If I choose soda, I get a minus. I also have one for my vitamins – if I remember them all three times during the day, I’ll tick the plus and get a bonus.
Dailies are things done daily. (duh!) But, and it took me a while to figure out what worked for me, it doesn’t have to be boring things that have to be done. It can also be things that you want to do. In some cases, it may be things that you don’t actually do daily, but maybe three times a week. You can set them up that way. For example, I have my actual day-to-day work broken out into 3 1-hr chunks. I broke it out because it’s a lot easier to say “I worked for an hour!” than it is to look back at your day and say “I think I managed a few hours somewhere amongst all of that other stuff I did…” I also have playing the piano for 1/2 hr three times a week because I like playing the piano and I never make time for it. Cleaning at least 1/2 hr a day is on my list – because I don’t like doing it, so I want to get something – even imaginary points that don’t matter – to help be get going.
The great thing with this is that by getting up to go clean something or play the piano, I’m also building the habit of getting out of my chair more often – bonus xpees!
I have my supplements broken out by meal because normally, I can have them sitting on my desk, but not remember to take them until hours after I eat and then it’s just about time for the next set and so on. Having them on my list gives me something to check off and build up my “experience.”
The last big Daily I have is my exercise. I love how I feel after I workout, but I drag my feet to go do it. I have 3 different routines to rotate through, so I have each one set up on a specific day. Again, it gives me a little something to check off and – yay! More xpees!
(I’m strange… I know.)
Now, this one I think is kind of cool. I don’t use it as a “To do and get done today” list. I use it as a “What do I want to do that a) needs cleaned, b) house upkeep, or c) should be done, but doesn’t have a time constraint?” list
For example, I have things like “start laundry,” or “oil desk,” or “attach rubber feet to rocking chair.” (The rocking chair will slide on the wood floor – don’t judge!)
Again, as I check off a Todo (like laundry, for instance) it can impact my Daily item (cleaning) which impacts my Habit (get up and move. Snowball effect!
Now, to explain a bit about how XP works. You get imaginary points for everything you check off that’s positive and points taken away for a minus on a Habit, or for not completing a Daily. Todos are a little different because you get points for crossing off items, but you’re not penalized for not doing them. Also, if you don’t complete a Daily, or if you tag a minus on a Habit, you lose health points (hp)… This is a bad thing if you let it go on too long.
These xpees build up and then you GAIN A LEVEL! (ding!) At different levels, you have access to different perks, so you can equip your little avatar with swords that can increase how fast you gain xpees, or armor that can decrease the amount of HP you lose.
So far, I haven’t even done this for a week total, but I’ve been remembering my vitamins and getting up out of my chair. I’ve cleaned in the kitchen, living room, and will be folding some laundry at my next break. I’ve exercised, and I’ve started some cleaning on the back patio. Plus, I’ve done a lot of “work” work and written somewhere around 5000 words today alone (in this blog post and another one that’s business related (check it out!). If anything, my husband should appreciate me “playing” HabitRPG.
I feel super accomplished. Plus, I’m about half way to LEVEL 4!
Give it a shot – see if it’s something that could help you build or break habits. It seems to be working for me!