The Best Behavior Modification Tool Ever: HabitRPG
For a number of years now (as long as I’ve been interested in things like biohacking, accelerated learning, self-improvement, etc.), I’ve struggled with finding effective and sustainable ways to stay organized, stay committed to completing my projects, consistently get a list of recurring daily tasks done, and create new habits. In fact, I never really considered that I could do all of those things with one system- I would try learning about how to form habits at the same time as making to-do lists or trying to learn Getting Things Done, which was a real mess for me.
I’m going to be straight up here- HabitRPG, the solution I’ve started using to solve these challenges, is 100% changing my life. Or at least, helping me make the changes I want to. I have never stayed so consistently on-track, I’ve never been so persistent or gotten as much done as I have while using HabitRPG. I’m not even a big video game fan, but the way that I feel incentivized and rewarded by using Habit is apparently super powerful and it really does keep me going every day.
What is HabitRPG?
Habit is ironically titled a Role Playing Game (RPG), when really the character you are playing in this game is YOURSELF. In other RPGs, you spend large chunks of time doing in-game tasks to try and “level up” your character, or “gain experience” and equipment. Habit takes this addictive structure and transfers the game layer to your life: when you do real-life tasks that help you proverbially “level up”, Habit actually levels you up!
The central focus of Habit is your main dashboard/Tasks screen, which displays your statistics, your checklist items, and rewards. I’ll break each of these down to explain them a bit more:
- Statistics – Here you can keep track of your Health (red bar), and Experience (yellow bar). In the picture above, there’s also a blue bar- that’s just one of the more involved “game” aspects of Habit that you won’t unlock until you’ve been “playing” for a while. Successfully completing tasks and checking them off in Habit will gradually increase your Experience, until you fill up the bar and level up. Failing to complete a daily task, or engaging in a negative habit, will decrease your health. Health resets every time you level up; Don’t die though, you’ll lose equipment you’ve gained throughout the game!
- Habits – This category is for tracking positive habits you’d like to create or negative habits you’d like to avoid. Here a “habit” is defined as something that either doesn’t necessarily come up in life every day, or as something that happens more than once a day. I use the Habits section for things like positively rewarding myself if I “attend a social event!”, and to reward my workouts (since they don’t happen on consistent days of the week). I could also create a negative habit for “biting my nails” if that’s something I wanted to stop doing, and click the “minus”/negative habit button every time I caught myself in the act, decreasing my health. Habits change color depending on how well you’re doing with them, or how much you’re struggling.
- Dailies – These are the things you want to do every day! For me, there’s some basic ones like “take your vitamins” (which, as you can see above, I’ve broken down into 3 sub-tasks), there’s also reading/learning goals like “Read 40 pages a day”, or doing my Brain Evolution System meditation practice. If one of these doesn’t get checked off on any given day, my health takes a hit. Checking them off, of course, boosts my experience points and gives me coins! You can also toggle dailies for different days of the week- for instance, my “Hit my Daily Sales Goals” item goes inactive on the weekends, since I’m not in work then!
- To-Dos – The simplest to explain- just your basic checklist of one time to-dos. Any tasks that you’ve had sitting around for a long time without completing gradually turn red, meaning that if you finally get around to completing them, you’ll get an extra large reward. This is to incentivize you to not create a graveyard of a to-do list.
- Rewards – In addition to getting experience points for every check mark you’re able to place, you also get coins to spend. At first, you can just set up real-life rewards and assign prices to them (for instance, if I want to buy some Ben & Jerry’s for myself, it’ll cost me 15 gold coins). Later in the game, you can use your coins towards buying new equipment for your character.
HabitRPG: The Game and Social Environment
Besides the main Tasks screen (which I personally feel is where 85% of the usefulness of Habit lies), there are other elements to Habit that video game fans, or those just needing more motivation, will love. On the game side of things, there are rare items you can find and collect, pets to discover and raise, quests to go on, dragons and bosses to slay, and guilds/parties to join. On the social side of things, there’s a very active community of users discussing everywhere from a general chat room, to more specific discussion groups for musicians, bodybuilders, entrepreneurs, “life hackers”, etc. One great social feature is the ability to create group challenges where users can compete against each other for rewards- for example, the last man standing reading 40 pages a day every day might get a large bounty of gold.
You can also create parties with friends on Habit and go on quests together- this becomes more clear after Level 10 when you can choose one of 4 different classes for your character to take on. I’d love to make a Habit party with some of my blog readers, so once you’re at Level 10, come leave a comment with your Party Code and chosen class, and we’ll set it up!
Getting Started with Habit
If you’re somebody who reads my blog, I’m sure you have a few pretty good ideas for habits you’d like to create, things you need to do every day that you’re slacking on, or to-dos that have been sitting on your list longer than I’ve been waiting for Space Jam 2. Habit is an incredibly fun way to keep all of these things organized, incentivized, and ultimately getting done.
Luckily for all you cheapskates and fellow college students, Habit is free! You can just click on this link, let it take your Facebook account on a date, and I’ll also link you to some helpful video tutorials on getting it set up.
Enjoy! If you use this thing, you’ll probably get addicted to it, which is one of the best things that can ever happen to you, apparently. I’m seriously loving Habit, and I’m sure you guys will kill using it too.
Don’t forget to leave a comment with your party code once you have one, and feel free to leave any questions about how to use Habit or what I’m doing with it!