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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Gamify your Life #goals #gamification #motivation


Another holiday has come and gone and yet again I have gained weight. It doesn’t seem to matter the holiday is, if it’s an event where you to eat good food, I will gain weight. Its just a fact of my life.

I made a plan earlier this year to lose the weight I gained over the Christmas holiday before the RWA convention in July. But Easter has now come and gone, and all the weight I lost has now been replaced.

This is not the direction I want to go. And with each successful holiday it becomes harder and harder to get back to my previous weight. So I decided to take a different tact that I had in previous attempts, and see if I can use some popular trends to help me make some movement on the scale.

Gamification is big right now, and I will admit I have tried many different versions, from bullet journals to phone apps. Every time I get the same result. It works for a little while, and then my interest drifts off. But for this particular problem maybe that’s okay. Since I’m really interested in losing weigh by a certain date (and then I’ll reassess where I stand). So I decided to go ahead and give it a shot.

This time, instead of using some predesigned or generalized plan, I decided to put together my own gamification program and literally put my money where my mouth is. I’ve always been pretty money focused, so I thought this might work better to motivate me than coloring in a chart or buying things I don’t really want anyway.

I set up a spreadsheet that would give me a certain amount of money into a ‘fake’ account when I do something right for my health. One dollar per thousand steps I take, a dollar if I exercise for thirty minutes, five dollars if I stay under my calorie threshold for the day. And when I’m all done, I can take this money and use it on whatever I want during my trip to New York. A new dress for the RITAs, tickets to Hamilton, a fancy dinner, my weight loss account is the limit.

And so far, it’s been motivating. It’s been less than two weeks and already I am walking more and eating less. I’m finding small ways to get closer to my goal, like pacing around the breakroom while I wait for my coffee to brew instead of standing and watching it drip. I’m being more diligent about taking my lunch break and going for a walk, even if work is crazier than I would like it. And at night, when I want that midnight snack, I’ll look at my calories and realize what it is costing me to have that little nibble and sometimes I don’t have it (though sometimes I do, I’m still a work in progress).

I’m not going to lie and say it’s the magical cure all and that I’m now perfect with my health. But feeling rewarded (and especially in the way I respond to, cold hard cash) makes it easier to enact the changes I need. It’s only been a few weeks, and just like some of my other motivational tools, the effect might wear off. But I’m enjoying the rewards while I have them.
If there is some goal you'd like to work to, or have been struggling with, I highly recommend you take a shot at gamifying your goal. Finding a way that rewards you for doing the right thing can really help to kick off your journey in the right direction.

What would you like to improve in your life? Can you use gamification to reach that goal? Leave a comment below about what you want to want to improve, or how you want to use gamification in your own life and we can encourage each other along.

1 comment:

Tina Donahue said...

I've never heard of gamification.

When I was in the corporate world, the company I worked for decided to do one of those wellness programs. If you didn't participate, your health insurance rates went sky high. I decided to participate.

Hadn't been to a doc in years. Absolutely loathe them - they're nothing but pill pushers. When I finally went to a doctor, I was shocked to learn my blood pressure was mildly high when it had never been that way. All of my other stats were okay. The doc - naturally - wanted to put me on medication - the same crap that killed a relative. I said 'no damn way'.

I did internet research and learned what I was doing wrong: eating junk food, too much sugar, and not exercising. That day I bought a blood pressure monitor, a stationary bike, and lots of fruits and veggies and unprocessed foods (oatmeal, whole wheat spaghetti, bread, etc).

Within two months, I dropped ten pounds, which was my goal as I'd always been on the slender side. Not once did I feel hungry. My blood pressure dropped from mildly high to 110 over 75 and has stayed in that general range for years.

Admittedly, it's tough to exercise 40 minutes a day and not to eat junk food. But, frankly, I'd rather spend my money on things I enjoy rather than the "health care" system that's more about making Big Pharma profits than helping people to become well for the long run.

IMO, this is a lifestyle change. No diet system will work like a lifestyle change. You simply have to be committed to it. My distrust for doctors and Big Pharma urged me on.