“It is the journey that brings us happiness, not the destination.”
This is one of my favourite quotes that functions as a reminder in my life. I don’t believe we need to suffer and struggle all the way to achieve our goals. Do we need to work hard? Yes. Do we need to make the effort? Yes. Do we need to step out of our comfort zones? Probably. However, we are not destined to suffer. I think that playfulness is important and we can enjoy the journey by having a playful approach to life. In this article, I collected 10 methods on how you can implement some gamification principles to your life to grasp the benefits of playfulness.
- Social influence: You can document your progress on different social media platforms such as on Instagram or on Facebook or you can collect data by using a simple Excel table. Use one Excel table with a friend or accountability partner and compete with each other! Social influence is an excellent tool to stay on track and motivated as there is at least one person who follows your journey and personal improvement. It is also fun to set goals and face challenges together with an accountability buddy!
- Get out of your comfort zone: EVERY SINGLE DAY. I know you think it is a cliché to mention but it is definitely a great way to gamify your life. In a game your main character needs to overcome a lot of challenges otherwise it would be boring to play. The same applies to real-life situations as well. Do something small every day for at least 30 days which makes you step out of your comfort zone. For example: discover a new restaurant or a bar in your city, or do a daily task differently than you usually do. Try out a new healthy recipe or a new meal. Read a book on a topic you know nothing about. The possibilities are endless! Just don’t pick the safe choice! “Every time you’re making a choice, one choice is the safe/comfortable choice, and one choice is the risky/uncomfortable choice. The risky/uncomfortable choice is the one that will teach you the most and make you grow the most, so that’s the one you should choose.” — said Karen X. Cheng, the owner of Waffle, the popular creative agency.
- Spontaneous-intuitive nights: When I was a university student I loved testing what we learned in our psychology classes. With my best friend we invented the so-called ‘spontaneous-intuitive nights’. What does this mean? We met at a random place in the city, we closed our eyes (sometimes we sat down on a bench and started meditating) to focus on the present moment and then we listened to our intuition and followed where it went. This technique helped us develop a playful approach to life and not to take life too seriously. It is also a great method if you want to learn how not to care about what others think of you. We simply followed our gut instincts and we had an excellent time! By using this technique, we could enjoy open-air concerts, drank cocktails in newly built bars and had interesting conversations with strangers. You can also test what happens if you follow your intuition for a few hours or you can expand this challenge to do it for an entire month! That will definitely be a fun and exciting month! 🙂
- Define challenges for yourself! Create challenges for yourself that inspires and maybe frightens you a bit at the same time. You can define month-long challenges for each of the 12 months of the year and you can choose different topics you focus on in each month. For example, Playful September, Productive October, Intuitive November are a few examples I tested. You can also set smaller challenges for you, too. For instance, you decide to solve a certain problem within 1 hour instead of 2. With this, you train your mind to think more creatively and you can utilize this knowledge and mindset in similar situations in the future, as well.
- Collect points/scores! In most games a score is a quantitative indicator of success. How to use scores in real life? Jot down your biggest goal and identify a few milestones (sub-goals) as well. Write down the next steps under the first subgoal and start accomplishing them to reach your goal/subgoal. Cross out or put a tick next to each of the accomplished tasks. Each step equals one point. Make the firm decision that after collecting 10, 20, 30 or 50 points you reward yourself with something. Define your rewards beforehand. It is more interesting if the value of the reward is commensurable to the number of the collected points. So, if you have accomplished 10 points, you can, i.e., present yourself with a bottle of wine or a snack you can eat without feeling guilty. After 25 or 50 points, your gift can be a full day of relaxation/ self-care day when you can do whatever you feel like.
- Self-love: Self-love is crucial no matter what you do. Identify certain activities you love doing for only the sake of the activity. Just out of intrinsic motivation. Do these activities more often and mindfully! Savour the moments!
- Level-up! In most of the games, there are different levels you can reach. Let’s suppose, there is a scale from 1 to 10, where at 10 everything is just ideal or perfect and at 1 it is the exact opposite. Where are you on this scale right now? Which level are you at this moment? Now, suppose you have managed to take a step forward on the scale so you have levelled-up. What will be different on the next level?
- Enjoy your playfulness: A game would be lame if it wasn’t fun and exciting. You should spend more time exploring and experimenting like in your childhood. Try new things. Take new risks. Meet new people. Explore playfulness creatively.
- FRPT – Fixed Reward Point Theory: This is my personal theory I developed for myself. FRPT means you define one deadline maximum 2-3 months ahead of time (so within a reasonable time) where a reward is waiting for you. You are 100% sure the reward is there and you become super excited even thinking about it. For me, this reward can be a forthcoming travel trip to an as-yet-unknown destination and I’ve already bought the plane tickets. (So there is real evidence this reward is waiting for me there). Due to the fact I will have an excellent time shortly, I am working even harder in the present to feel that my travel trip is well-deserved. This technique works perfectly for me when I know there is a lot of work in front of me and I need extra motivation and focus. Your reward can be anything that makes you exuberantly joyous and it is within a reasonable time frame to make you motivated. If it is 6 months in the future it doesn’t have that big impact on your present reality.
- Vision: In the world of gamification the emphasis is not just on the goals and projects but on building a big, inspiring vision which you can strengthen every day. Visualization is a proven method that is used both in business and sports psychology. Try to visualize the desired outcome you wish for as vividly and rich in details as much you can. Do this at least 15-20 minutes per day and see what happens. After a few weeks, you will realize that you can notice more opportunities in your environment that support your goals. You become more inspired and motivated, as well. You can boost this method if you practice visualization while listening to upbeat/motivation music.
If you find the idea of gamification interesting and would like to gamify your life in a personalized way don’t hesitate to contact me on the e-mail address below to schedule a coaching session or click on the Contact menu.