Goal setting for gamers

Inspired by a friend’s idea for setting time-limited goals, I came up with my own method that drives the gamer buried deep in my subconscious to reach the highest score possible by reinforcing positive and punishing negative behaviour.

The idea is simple: if I exercise, I get a point, but if I eat a donut afterwards I lose the point, and if I just sit on my ass and eat donuts then I go into the negative (-10 if I ate an entire box), but if I reached a major milestone like completing a 50km mountain bike race I get 20 points. Of course, you have to be brutally honest with yourself when assigning points for it to work, but the main goal is to gently remind yourself of where you’re going wrong each day so you can improve the next day. Then you can set yourself rewards like “If I reach 200 points from now until July 30th I will go spend the day at the Spa because I earned it.”

The method is even simpler: just a grid on a spreadsheet with columns for the days in a week and rows marked green and red for positive and negative behaviour. Put down each of your goals with a positive goal and the negative behaviour that is dragging you down. Check the image above or use some of the ideas in the list below for goal opposites:

  • Made an effort with friends and family/Made excuses to get out of doing anything
  • Hunted for a better job/Made excuses on why I should stick in a dead-end job
  • Got rid of poisonous people in my life/Grinned and beared them
  • Add your own in the comments!

Put in your point scores at the end of the day and sum up each column. If you’re aiming for a reward, then put in a calculation to show how close you are to it. Simple, quick, and effective.

Instead of trying to force yourself into a strict schedule with TODO lists and calendars, try this easy way to motivate yourself to use your time more effectively by not only getting more done but also constantly evaluating where you are wasting time, and let me know how it goes!

2008.06.09