Building Habits; Killing Dragons – Episode 6

Mechanical Dragon by Jenn Durfey (CC BY 2.0)

‘What did you get up to on the weekend?’

‘Dragged myself into work. You?’

‘Killed a dragon.’

We highlighted way back in Episode 1 that the crisis (or crises) of engagement in education, politics, and so many other industry contexts is pervasive. In an attention and time poor society, people don’t need to hunt for distractions – countless ones are thrown at us cost-free and with a high level of convenience at every turn. Yet the intricate and boundless entertainment culture that drives these distractions – and the gaming industry that fills an ever-increasing space within it – offers tools that are also proving to be part of the solution. Building personal and professional habits is a significant element of this.

Screenshot of Habitica app

Habitica is one innovative means by which people from all walks of life can set and – hopefully – achieve their goals. The app (or website, if you and your mobile device are taking a break from each other) adopts aesthetic elements of the fantasy adventure/role-playing and retro gaming genres, and  therefore won’t be to everyone’s tastes. For those who are more turned on than turned off by swords and sorcery, the app enables users to obtain experience points, level up their avatar, and – if they are so inclined – purchase weaponry, suit up in armour, and partake in individual or collaborative quests with other users in their ‘party.’

An in-built story plays only a very small role here, and it’s likely the narrative text of a quest won’t be fully or even partly read by a large number of users. Many ‘Habiteers’ might not go on quests at all. More crucial is the fragmented, step-by-step journey that those who gamify their everyday life set up for themselves. For a more detailed glimpse into Habitica and the way(s) it can be used, check out Episode 6 below:

One facet of Habitica gestured to in this episode and worth following up on here is the setting of one’s own rewards. You may have noticed that Sarah added a ’15 minute break’ to the app’s template rewards so that she could work toward something more tangible while studying. This level of personal customisation isn’t required by Habitica; there are plenty of creatures to hatch or feed and heaps of virtual commodities to buy in the shop. However, setting more personalised rewards is a particularly valuable method of motivating oneself. Even without realising it, people tend to do this on a regular basis, and given that there is a frequent need for many – most? – people to reinvigorate their motivation, being conscious and proactive in setting both challenges and rewards is often half the battle.

Thanks for reading/watching, and good luck with your goals this week. If you’re having trouble getting motivated, get gamifying – that dragon’s not going to kill itself!! 🙂


Featured image: Dragon by Selena N. B. H. (CC BY 2.0)


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