Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gamify Your Life

   My husband stumbled upon this really awesome website a couple weeks ago. It's called HabitRPG. Basically, it turns your routines, to-do lists, and things you wish you could get yourself to do into a game. You create "dailies," "habits," and "to-do's" for yourself (in real life) and you get rewarded (in-game money and experience) for completing them and penalized (lost in-game health) for skimping out on them. The tasks change color according to how well you're keeping up with them and offer more reward for harder tasks or ones that have been sitting longer on your list, to give you the incentive to stop procrastinating.

   Psychologically speaking, the program does a great job:

   #1. I'll start with the best part - that Habit allows you to see, in a concrete way, where you're doing well, where you can improve, and how you are improving as you accomplish each task. Seeing progress made is a HUGE motivator and oftentimes it can be hard to see in real life.

    #2. The reward system (especially with some of the challenges and achievements), I feel, inspires a longer-term feeling of intrinsic reward in completing tasks. Intrinsic motivation is always stronger than extrinsic (ie. the feeling of a job well done works better than, say, money).

   #3. There is a mixture of continuous (given predictably every time a task is completed) and random (given only some of the times a task is completed, and unpredictably so) positive reinforcement. Random rewards  actually have really strong reinforcing effects. Really strong.

   #4 There is a social system set up for accountability and encouragement through Parties and Guilds. So important. Think Facebook if it were more positive and it inspired you to do stuff in real life. I mean, really, imagine if all of your time spent on Facebook was actually going toward accomplishing real life stuff.

   This is one of those things that you can take and run with as far as you want to go. Whatever you're looking for they have, or you can create it (p.s. it's open-source for any coders out there). There are Challenges to participate in, Guilds to join with like-minded individuals pursuing similar goals, and lots of fun little additions to brighten your day. I've actually stopped using my paper planner altogether because this just works better for me. I use Habit's website for my to-do's (and their phone app - which is not as good, but it lets me check things off) and I'm starting to keep dates on Google calendar.

    Really - just give it a trial run and see for yourself. You can watch some short videos to better understand what I'm talking about here:  #1, #2#3#4And if you want to join our Party (a group of people who go through the "game" together and encourage one another), email me or leave a comment or send a Facebook message or whatever and we would love to have you join us.

Happy Habitting!

   (Did I mention there are fun pets? There are fun pets :) )

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

101 in 1001: 9 Month Update

          Progress since my last update . . .

#3. Start an IRA for Austin. --- COMPLETE
#7. Finish saving our 6 months of expenses emergency fund. --- COMPLETE

#14. Read 40 books.
   I read these four: When We Wake (3/5 stars), Salem Falls (4 stars), Discipline: The Glad Surrender (4 stars), and Origin (5 stars) . I'll post about them soon.

#28. Try my hand at all of the alcoholic beverages on my Pinterest board.
   Austin and I made this drink for my birthday: Strawberry Champagne Punch. I wasn't a big fan of it. We made these on two separate evenings to go with tacos: Raspberry Mango Sangria and Cucumber Lime Margaritas. The sangria was very good, especially after it sat in the fridge overnight, but I think I did something wrong with the margaritas because they turned out very strange and pulpy.
#29. Bake a new thing each month from Pinterest.
   I played a little catch up for December and January, so I ended up with 5 things baked: Avocado fries, Quinoa pizza muffins, Snickerdoodle brownies, Feta artichoke fritatta, and Stuffed sweet potatoes. All were delicious!
#30. Try 10 new vegan recipes.
   I did my first one - Black Eyed Pea Sloppy Joes. So good!
#34. Do a good ab workout every other day for 1 month. --- COMPLETE
   I've been requested to share my workout plan, so I'll make a separate post about that.

#49. Purge my closet of everything I don't love or need. --- COMPLETE
   There will be a whole post on this. Just you wait. It was terrible and crazy and awesome.

#64. Finish reading the entire Bible book by book.
   Finished Luke and started John.
#65. Memorize a new Bible verse each month.
   March: Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:26
   April: So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in them. 1 John 4:16
   May: When you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon, and the stars - all the heavenly array - do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. Deuteronomy 4:19

I've accomplished 17 total goals now and I've got 11 in progress. Here's to another successful 3 months!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer Goals

Hi! Long time no see.

I did in fact Seize the May, which is where I left this blog. Then I Relaxed the June - which was glorious :) Now, I'm ready to start doing things again.

I learned a lot from my May goals about how I want to set goals for myself. May was hectic and messy and very, very productive. I needed that, but I don't need it all the time. We oscillate between times of productivity and times of rest and it's just a bad idea to expect to be going full speed all the time. Rest is very important. Good workflow is very important.

That being said, I've got summer goals to post today rather than "July goals". And since June is already over I guess you could also call these "July & August goals". I've always seen summer as a time for rest and casual fun. I've also always seen summer as a lump of indistinguishable months. So this is why I think "Summer Goals" seems to better suit my workflow.


One thing I want to do this summer is edit my 101 Goals list. It's been a very dynamic 9 months for me since I began this challenge and I'm realizing that some of those things aren't important to me anymore. In fact, some of them never really were (more on that later). I won't hold onto goals for the sake of holding onto goals. Life goes, things change, and we adapt - this list is no exception.

I also want to embark on some more aggressive decluttering. For the last few months I've been feeling very strongly about how much stuff we have and I've started getting rid of it (just wait until I share my closet story with you. just. wait.). I'm hoping to tackle the entire apartment in the next two months. It's okay to have a stretch goal.

I want to make conscious efforts toward my goals for the year too. I plan to review them every morning to keep them fresh in mind and then go wherever I feel with them each day. The hope is that this is a balance between strict planned-out-ed-ness and still being focused and achieving stuff. We'll see.

Of course I'll be getting back to my monthly goals for 101 in 1001. You know the drill.

Also, I will FINISH the investing book. If for no other reason than being tired of talking about it. Yep. Happening.

Finally, like always, finish writing my book is on the list. It will be on the list until the day I finish it. And that will be a good day indeed :)


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