Statistics tell us that by now, most people have completely abandoned their new year’s resolutions. Why is that? The answer is likely a simple one: We’re not truly engaged in our goals. Just as teenagers and kids will describe their least favorite or most difficult subject in school as “boring”, what they’re really saying is that they have no interest or motivation to engage in the subject – so it feels hard. When things start to feel hard, our brains begin to “shut off”, making it harder to get things done. A great way to combat this feeling is by gamifying your goals. Gamification is the application of typical elements of game play (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity. Think of your favorite game. What makes it fun? What keeps you wanting to play? Here are some simple ways you can make your goals feel more engaging and fun.
Set a Rewards System. Setting a rewards system is the easiest way to get gamification going. Start by identifying what motivates you the most and setting benchmarks to earn rewards. There are several ways to do this—it just needs to fit you. Perhaps a great reward would be getting to plan a weekend getaway after preparing for and running a 5K. Or going out for dessert with friends once you’ve finished a big home project. You could also set parameters by assigning points to each task and reward. For example: For every hour you workout you get 50 points. And, in order to buy those new shoes you want, you need to earn 500 points. Rewards can be in the shape of food, trips, or even how much Netflix time you’ll allow yourself at night. Be creative, and only set rewards that excite and motivate you.
Add Variety. Just like any good video or board game, variety adds extra incentives and flavor to keep you interested for longer. To start, look at the balance of goals that you have set and include some smaller goals alongside your loftier ones. For example, easy tasks such as replying to emails or refilling the printer with copy paper can be included on your task list for small points. Including activities such as those that aren’t considered necessary will add some diversity to your productivity. Include personal missions to wash the dishes, get daily exercise, and pursue hobbies to make sure you stay motivated.
Track Your Progress. Good gamification requires that you track your progress. This way you can visualize the progress you’ve made and see how far you have left to go. A record of your progress will also help you adjust the difficulty of your gamification as your productivity improves and you need an extra challenge. Use your planner to both assign your daily tasks points, list rewards, and track how you’re spending your points. Schedule your rewards to make sure they actually happen—so you feel validated and continue forward.
Gamifying your goals will help you feel more accomplished and keep you on track towards success. Instead of just letting your dreams fall behind, bring new motivation and turn the feeling of work into fun. How do you stay motivated and connected to your goals? Share your ideas in the comments below!