Have you ever woken up determined to change your life? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a big change. Just a simple wish to eschew the bad habits from your daily routine and replace them with good ones that lead to a better, healthier lifestyle. Say, working out regularly, reading more, or planning better your studying.
Probably every one of you has answered yes to the above question and if you have replied “Yes, multiple times”, it only shows how your feeble will has always surrendered to the harsh reality. Changing one’s habits is a struggle. Many people wait until a specific date, like the turn of a new year, to muster up all the determination. Yet, that determination often withers in a matter of a few weeks.
Do not worry, I am one of you too. The dreamer in me is always wishing and planning for a better future. However, I have stumbled many times and all I’ve done was giving up in disappointment.
That is until Matt introduced me to an application called Habitica, a habit-building and productivity application. This happened during my exams in June. It was a blessing as thanks to this app, I was able to devise my study plan and organise my days.
I am still using Habitica every day. It’s not just a boring to-do list; it’s a colourful, interactive game – played via an avatar – that rewards you for every goal you reach. The more goals, the more rewards and the more fun it becomes.
Check out the following 8 things you can do with Habitica to improve your lifestyle while having fun at the same time!
8 Ways to Enjoy Building Good Habits with Habitica
1. Build good habits and earn rewards.
As the name clearly implies, Habitica enables you to change your habits or adopt new ones. So this is one of the lists you can create.
When adding a new Habit, you can choose the level of difficulty (trivial, easy, medium, hard) and choose whether it’s a Positive (+) or a Negative (-) habit. ‘Drinking two big bottles of water a day’, for example, can be positive. Furthermore, you can add notes and tags to each entry. The more positives you tick, the greener and bluer your habits become. Your avatar earns gold, experience (to advance levels) and mana (this is unlocked at a further level, enabling magic spells).
What kind of habits should you add? Anything! The Habitica website suggests many ideas related to work, study, health, chores and general self-improvement. Some of my habits have to do with reading, language-learning and refraining from using Facebook during the day.
2. Train yourself out of bad habits.
When you fail to regularly tick your habits, they go back to yellow. It’s nothing bad, you just miss an opportunity to earn more gold and experience. On the other hand, if you click the negative button of a habit, your avatar will lose health points.
So if, for example, you made it a point to avoid eating junk food during weekdays and you assigned a negative button to it, eating a pizza on a weekday will force you to click that Negative. Missing it once in a while is no big deal – your avatar’s health will be restored at every newly reached level – but if you miss a lot of habits, then your health is going to suffer and so will your goal to improve your life.
3. Organise your days and minimise procrastination with Dailies and To-Dos.
Apart from listing habits, you can write lists of Dailies and To-Dos. Dailies are tasks that you do every single day. They could be anything, from taking breakfast to flossing your teeth. Besides choosing the difficulty level, you have to choose the days of the week on which they occur, so they can light up in colour when the chosen day comes. The more you tick, the greener and bluer they become, while if you fail to mark it, you will lose health points. If you keep up with them regularly, you’ll have a streak.
To-Dos are more variable; it depends on the chores and tasks you need to do on particular days. Aside from the difficulty level, you can choose a due date from the calendar. For both to-dos and dailies, you can specify if it’s a morning, afternoon or evening task. As opposed to the other two, to-dos do not hurt you and the longer it takes to complete, the redder and more valuable they become.
So you basically have a colourful online organiser! Listing every daily little thing you do may sound silly, but small tasks are easier to complete and therefore more motivating. Assigning a hard level to a task you especially hate doing – washing the dishes right after dinner, for example – will reward you with more gold and experience. And you don’t want to break the dailies streak, as Habitica awards you a medal for that.
4. Enjoy buying equipment for your avatar, finding items and growing pets.
So what’s all this talk about avatars and gold, anyway? Habitica is not only a simple habit-building app but also a roleplaying game. When you sign up, you create your own avatar and with the gold you earn, you can buy different equipment for it. Eventually, you will also have to choose your avatar’s class from warrior, healer, mage and rogue. What you choose will influence the skills you get.
In addition to that, while clicking on your completed tasks, you may also find items: animal eggs, hatching potions and food. There are ten different colourful potions to hatch animals from nine different categories. Once hatched, you can feed them so they can grow into mounts, meaning that your avatar can ride on one of them.
All this makes the app much more entertaining. As you start collecting different animals, you’ll be craving to complete all the collection. And what do you have to do then? Just keep ticking tasks and habits. It’s like a lottery!
5. Invite family and friends to join in and challenge/help each other.
Another interesting feature of Habitica is the Party. A party is created when you invite at least one other user. It is a good excuse to coax relatives and friends to sign up and join in the fun.
Having someone you know using the app will definitely help you going on steadily with your tasks. You can also challenge each other. For example, at home, one of the most tedious chores is to take out the trash bag early in the morning. If I want Matt to do it (which is always the case right now), I encourage him to take up the task by reminding him of Habitica’s rewarding system. Alternatively, I can also take up the challenge of a tough task so that later I can reward myself.
Therefore, the app encourages us to take up responsibility and be less procrastinating, but even if we want to shove a chore onto someone else, it is ultimately for that user’s benefit.
6. Motivate yourself and your party by taking up quests.
Actually, the party has another vital function. Once a group of users has formed a party, everyone depends on each other’s success in completing all their tasks and upping their habit levels. If one user in a party fails to tick a task, all the party loses health points. So, all of you have good reasons to encourage each other to be productive and complete all dailies, to-dos and habits. If you lose health points, there are always those special skills which I mentioned earlier, that can heal you or give you powers.
One other feature that makes the party function even livelier is the quest. Of course, an RPG app with fantasy avatars has to have quests. Each quest has a story and the aim varies accordingly. Parties who join a quest will be either asked to fight a boss or collect items. The successful completion of a quest is attained simply by ticking your completed tasks and habits as usual. The more you complete, the bigger damage inflicted to the boss or the bigger number of items found. On failing to finish a task, the boss will deal damage to the whole party. The final reward is usually gold and experience, but some particular quests reward you with special quest pets!
7. Get acquainted with other players through guilds.
On Habitica, you will also find several guilds, created according to interests. It is basically a forum where you can meet other users who are similar to you. There is also the Tavern Chat, where you can take a break and live chat with users.
I have never used these two features, so I cannot tell you about my experience. However, they are not only just fun but also helpful, as chatting with experienced players will earn you valuable tips which can maximise your gaming experience and improve your habit-building.
8. Keep going and never give up because it’s fun!
It’s been almost 3 months since I started using Habitica and I’m still going strong. I have reached Level 64 as a Healer, I am soon going to finish my basic pet collection, and my current dailies streak stands at 75. I am definitely not bored of it. Why?
It’s because Habitica puts the fun and the motivation required in a successful habit-building process. By gaining levels, finding items, embellishing my avatar and taking part in quests, I hardly stress over the number of tasks that I have to complete and the habits that I have to adopt. It’s exciting because it’s interactive, attractive to the eye and extremely helpful in organising my day-to-day activities. The cumulative rewarding system keeps me craving for more, which means that I strive to be more productive, even by doing little chores. And last but not least, playing it together with my partner is much more enjoyable and motivating, as we coax and help each other.
So, have I convinced you yet? If you’re desperate to turn over a new leaf and start incorporating healthy and productive habits to your lifestyle, I invite you to try out Habitica. You don’t need to be a gamer to enjoy it, as it is easy to use and highly practical. I am here challenging you to give it a try – it’s one simple step towards an improved way of living.
You can download the mobile app for free from Google Play Store or iTunes and you can also visit the Habitica website.