Habitica is a productivity website which gives the impression that you are playing an RPG in real life and I have been using it for months now because of its benefits.
First and foremost, bookmark your task page and make it visible on your web browser and change your browser setting such that Habitica web page shows up when you first open your web browser. So many people fail to accomplish their tasks not because for lack of willpower but because they simply forget their tasks and even more sadly their long term goals! By doing the above step you ensure that there is no excuse to forget what you have to do.
Second, gameification of life will seem a bit ridiculous at first glance but set aside any preconcieved notions for a few weeks and allow yourself to see if this system works. If you are not ready to ‘gamify’ your tasks because you think the website is for toddlers or because your friends might judge you the wrong way, this is probably your procrastinator self trying to prevent you from improving. There is no shame in improving your life no matter how strange is the way you are doing it.
Pay for subscription which will give you extra motivation because of the rewards. You may think that all those Habitica pets to find and raise are too much but as you become more disciplined and you accomplish more there won’t be enough to obtain after that. The reward system does not only encourage you with Habitica pets, you can spend your gold on buying combat equipment that helps you complete quests at a faster rate and you can buy gems that will unlock quests and equipment that people don’t normally have access to them.
Join a party so that you will hold yourself accountable. Willpower is contagious, even if you live a gazillion miles away from your party members. What I noticed when I joined a party is that when 2-3 members received damage due to no accomplishing goals the rest of the team followed. However, when 2-3 members had succeeded with most of their goals (which showed after the boss damage calculation) then other members were inspired to not only get their shit together but also accomplish more than before.
Congratulate and encourage your fellow members whenever they succeed in their goals. It’s a no brainer that receiving as well as giving positive feedback to others your confidence and belief in your ability to accomplish your goals will increase gradually. The Habitica team party system is made in such a way that it boosts your self-esteem by being able to comment on your team mates performances, hold yourself accountable to them and give and receive positive ratings when you do something good.
Determine the difficulty of each task by taking into consideration the two following factors. The complexity and the amount of willpower it takes to accomplish it. For example, having a 5 minute cold shower is a very straight-forward process but it takes a lot of willpower to accomplish so the difficulty of this task would be ‘hard’. Additionally, sketching a complex figure on paper requires more thought and deliberation which increases the complexity factor and consequently makes it a ‘hard’ goal.
What tasks should you fill out your Habits, Dailies and To-Dos list?
There are a few general guidelines that I can give you based on my experience but as a general rule, there are no rigid structured way to adhere to.
To begin with, my Dailies list is what gives me the most gold and experience points than the other two lists. This is also the one that receives the highest priority and it consists of tasks that I have to complete every day (some of them not during all days of week e.g physical workout, avoiding snacks) in order to achieve my long term goals. It starts with my morning routine down to brushing my teeth before sleep. These tasks are to be completed in some form of order but in way that can be adapted to the schedule.
My To-Dos list consists mainly of small reminders to do some chores such as taking out the trash or other tasks that benefit me but are not scheduled on specific days. For example, I don’t really schedule when I have to shave and if I stumble on a podcast or a video that is useful to me I write it down on the list to watch it later on. The attention that goes on to this list should not be equalled with the Habits and Dailies listsIf you can’t keep up with a habit change the variability and be try to ‘’measure’’ your tasks whenever you can. Don’t just list ‘Book reading’ as part of your daily activities. It is better to say ’15 minute book reading’ and from then on just increase the time by 1 minute every day so that you can measure your progress.
Having a good list of habits is above all else though. You need to think carefully of what you want to accomplish and you have to be realistic. A good list of habits is a list that comprises of things you can do consistently and will allow you to add more things to it later on as your willpower grows, so don’t go overboard with it.
Moving on, healthy competition will push you further in Boss fights. Every time someone ended his day and saw that he had dealt higher damage to the boss I wanted to surpass this person despite the fact that we were on the same team. Every person in my team felt the need to kick their gears up and keep up with the highest scores. It certainly made me add more tasks to my lists and complete them just so I can deal more damage to the Boss and get over with it. It made me want to go the extra mile and do more things in my life that I would have otherwise slacked them off for days or weeks before completing them had I not been on Habitica.
Useful system functions
When you open the ‘Data Display’ option using your API you can get detailed reports on how much damage you will take if you don’t complete your goals and how much damage you will be able to deal to the Boss by completing your tasks and much more.
You get to see the exact potential damage to your health from incomplete tasks which is reduced the more you do them. It’s a psychological effect that signals to your brain that ‘It gets easier’ the more you keep up with your tasks.
At the same time you get to see exactly which days you skipped your tasks and you will be able to pick up some patterns so that you will become more consistent, especially with dailies.
When you just don’t feel like doing it
When you first set out to start a habit you will inevitably meet some resistance mid-way through your journey. During the first few days there will be lots of excitement and positive thinking and maybe someday dreaming of who you will become if you continue a new habit. But after that the excitement fades and in most cases, people forget why they even started a new habit in the first place.
First of all you have to remind yourself why you are doing something by writing it down. Most people don’t even do that which is why they forget it in the first place.
Second, use self-talk (discussed in more detail in Gorilla Mindset) to kick yourself into gear whenever you feel a bit down. Athletes have coaches to push them into taking action but most people are not athletes and they don’t have coaches, and this is where self-talk kicks in.
By using self-talk you become your own coach during the hard moments, when you are challenged by temptation to give up because you found an obstacle in your path or when your feelings get in your way. That happened to me countless times; I would definitely count my failures to take action in the thousands or even tens of thousands and I’m still a young guy.
For example, when I first wanted to start having cold showers I would always talk myself out of it every time and I kept making stupid excuses to avoid it. It was so unbelievably easy to believe the excuses that my mind was making up that it was causing me to almost forget why I wanted to start doing cold showers in the first place. After recognising the pattern of negative self-talk I would reverse it by saying ‘Come on Marcus after you get out you will feel incredibly powerful and energised’.
Initially you are going to fail to follow through your task even after recognising the negative patterns but as long as you improve little by little, failure will be a rare event. There are stressful times where you will have to compromise your routine in the short term but such is life. Sometimes you just have to put your head down for a bit of time before moving on to the stuff that you really like.
Eliminate temptation and over thinking
Don’t deplete your willpower reserve by having to resist temptations or overthink simple things throughout the day.
If you are trying to improve your nutrition plan, don’t place chocolate bars all over your working desk and the kitchen drawers and cupboards that you frequently visit throughout the day. Hide those sweet harmful demons in places that you don’t have on your sight all the time.
With regards to overthinking, pick your work clothes before you go to sleep or have a pair of jeans, shoes and a jacket that you like to wear almost every day in order to save yourself from overthinking those simple things and consequently waste energy. Prepare foods from the day before, store them in your fridge and throw them in the microwave. Try to automate your decision making process as much as you can. You can worry about your clothes and food once you accomplish your other goals, but for now, live a simple life.
In other words, spend energy on acting towards useful goals rather than avoiding useless activities.
Gameification of life seems like a silly concept but it’s worth trying out this system if you are serious about self improvement. This website is more than just an RPG in real life because the end goal is long term improvement with a system that facilitates this process even if you are not a gamer like me. I have certainly noticed a huge difference between myself a few months ago and how I live today. I’m still very far from what I want in life but for the first time in years, I actually feel like I’m accomplishing something.