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.