Gamifying my healthy habits

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Earlier this week I read an article by Arman Assadi on his REEP Challenge, or how he maintains his health and productivity while travelling. His rationale is that while you are travelling and out of a routine, it’s easy to drop the healthier elements of your normal daily activities. I’ve certainly found that to be true when travelling myself, but also I’ve found it quite difficult to establish a healthy daily routine in general. In fact, I started my healthy habits list as part of my weekly goal posts as a way of both reminding myself of what I wanted to do, and motivating myself to do it more.

Personally, I already find that I get a lot more healthy habits done if I set myself a target as part of my weekly goals, and read my draft post each morning. This week, for example, I’ve set a weekly goal to complete five healthy habits per day, following a period where I’ve let them slide quite considerably. This morning, I’m writing this blog post as part of my 750 Words habit, and because I opened up my draft post first thing, I’ve already got a few easy wins out of the way; I listened to affirmations and wore Better Back for the first fifteen minutes when I logged into my computer, after seeing that reminder. Opening the draft post also reminded me to think of three things I’m grateful for, which I find so simple to do, but also so simple to forget.

As I’m quite a tick-box and points oriented kind of person, the REEP Challenge resonated with me, and I wanted to find a way I could incorporate it into my healthy habits, to give me even more motivation. I also wanted a way to encourage myself not to focus purely on the easy wins, while ignoring the longer or less palatable items (which are generally where more benefit lies).

I have 25 healthy habits, so I was hoping I’d be able to split them into five tidy categories of five habits each. That wasn’t quite the case, but it wasn’t far off. I’ve been able to create the following:

  • Strength – 5 habits
  • Flexibility – 5 habits
  • Mindfulness – 5 habits
  • Eating – 3 habits
  • Brain – 4 habits
  • Positivity – 3 habits

My idea now is establish a points scheme in the way that the REEP Challenge does. It would be based not only on the number of habits completed, as has previously been the case, but also on the completion of different categories, and also on the number of easy wins in each category.

Category completion

5 points for completing the target number of habits in each category
3 points for completing at least one habit in each category
1 point for completing at least one habit in 4 or more categories

Individual category scores

Strength

5 points for 4 habits (I’d never do all five, as I wouldn’t do a sprint and a long run on the same day)
3 points for completing at least two habits
1 point for completing at least one habit

Flexibility

5 points for completing five habits
3 points for completing at least three habits (there are two easy wins in this category)
1 point for completing at least one habit

Mindfulness

5 points for completing five habits
3 points for completing at least two habits
1 point for completing at least one habit

Eating

5 points for completing three habits
3 points for completing at least two habits
1 point for completing at least one habit

Brain

5 points for completing four habits
3 points for completing at least three habits (there are two easy wins in this category)
1 point for completing at least one habit

Positivity

5 points for completing three habits
3 points for completing at least two habits (there are two easy wins, but since there are only three habits in total, I can’t do much to mitigate that)
1 point for completing at least one habit

I hope this system will encourage me to complete some of the habits which take a bit longer, and which I therefore haven’t done for a while, such as writing meditation. I suppose it will also help me to weed out any habits which are on the list, but which I don’t value anymore. For example, Alexander Technique is on the list but I haven’t done it for months, if at all this year. In theory, I can see the value, but does it fit into my life in practice? And if not, why keep looking at it every day and feeling bad that I haven’t done it?

I’ll start the system on Monday, which will be a challenge as I’m travelling for the whole week, meaning it would normally be a habit drought! Maximum points per day would be 35, average would be 21 and minimum would be 7. I’ll aim for 10 or more per day while I’m away.

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