I’m sure you’ve heard the adage, “What gets tracked and measured, gets accomplished.”
That is the reason a lot of new app creators are adding gamification to their apps, because people like knowing how far they’ve gotten and how much further they have to go.
We like the idea of accomplishing goals, tracking our progress, and receiving rewards for the progress that we’ve made. It’s basic human nature.
But you don’t need to leave the gamification aspect to other people.
I have been using gamification in my own life to ensure that I keep consistent with certain habits. The habits I have chosen to incorporate into my daily routine are meditation, journaling, and yoga.
These habits are called “anchor habits” and they are the ones that every successful person and any personal development coach will try to drill into your life and your head.
Creating your own ‘anchor habits’
If you successfully implement core anchor habits into your daily lifestyle, you are ensuring the accumulation of dozens of other good habits into your life. As an example, think about the last time you started exercising regularly and daily. Once you built that into your routine, wasn’t it easier to add eating healthier, making your bed every morning, flossing your teeth, taking the stairs, avoiding miscellaneous arguments, and so on?
When you start building one great habit into your life, your subconscious mind thinks to itself, “I have done this amazing thing to start my day. I don’t want to ruin the streak I have built by doing something stupid, like eating junk food, or kicking a puppy. I want to keep the goodness going.” Thus, you keep on adding new good habits to your lifestyle.
I want to help you gamify the anchor habits into your routine, so you are able to build more and more great habits into your habit pyramid. Once the foundation for your habit pyramid is set with anchor habits, you will be able to add on other awesome habits without breaking a sweat. There are 3 techniques I use to gamify my core habits (meditation, journaling, and yoga):
1. Create 7 or 10 day streaks
I write down every single time I have done any of my main three habits. I use an excel sheet, but you can use Notes, Google Docs, your favorite productivity app, etc. This way, I’m able to keep track of the number of days I practice key habits without breaking my streak. Once, I’m on a 7 or a 10 day streak, it feels almost criminal to break it by skipping that habit for a day.
This gamification strategy keeps me going through tough days when I just don’t feel like doing them. On those days, in order to ensure I don’t lose my streak, I spend fifteen minutes to regain my focus, which includes a 5 minute meditation, 5 minutes journaling and a 5 minute sun salutation yoga session.
Consistency is so important in building habits and becoming successful. At this point, I have a 190 day streak in my meditation practice. I am so involved in this streak that I can’t let it go!
2. Share your 7-day challenge with the world
Every month, I announce that I am going to do a 7-day challenge on my social media networks or with my personal friend group. This is a crucial aspect of gamification (i.e., that is why apps ask you to add Facebook friends so you can compete against each other).
By sharing you are ensuring that the competitive inner child of yours comes out in full force. You can ask friends to join in on the challenge too (which is a sure-fire plan that someone is there to bug you everyday to complete your habits).
It helps if others around you are extremely competitive and close to you, like a sibling, partner or trusted colleague. For example, the last time I shared my 7-day challenge with my mother, she called me everyday to make sure I didn’t fail at it (mothers are the best!).
3. Reward yourself for completing a streak
This one is so freaking crucial yet most of us overlook it because we don’t want to waste time or money on it. Pain and pleasure are the twin forks that we humans use to do anything.
We either move towards pleasure or move away from pain. But our tendency to move towards pleasure is much stronger than our move away from pain. You’ll want to use this pain-pleasure theory in your gamification strategy.
For example, I set goal posts that I want to reach each month. If I do, I get a reward. My rewards vary from a tub of Haagen Dazs Pralines and Cream ice-cream, to a book from Amazon, or a burrito from a local shop. The reward doesn’t have to be huge or expensive. But it does have to appeal to your senses.
You know yourself best. I know I’m motivated by food and books. What motivates you?
These three techniques are easy to implement. They don’t take a lot of effort. But they will ensure that you stick with your core anchor habits. Consistent execution of the right habits will change your life.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Shikha Dhawan, a.k.a. Boom Shikha – The Millionaire Hippie, is a serial entrepreneur, wanderluster, online-business owner, yogi, author, and avid meditator. She’s interested in helping you find your life purpose, and get to your Level 10 life. Join her free private Facebook group. Connect with @ShikhaDhawan1 on Twitter.
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