After all, if you can make something fun and include elements of play in it, you’ll be much more likely to be able to muster up the motivation to get it done. And that’s what gamification is all about.
When you’re playing a game you usually start at Level One. You’re a newbie, a beginner, a rookie . . . Then, as you take certain actions, you accumulate points. Once you have enough points, you move up to the next level. That is, you level up. You move up–from level to level– and, eventually, you move all the way up to the top level.
As an example, I create content for a site called Squidoo. Some months back Squidoo added several elements of gamification to their site in order to make it stickier (encourage users to spend more time on the site). Here are some of the things that you can do in order to “level up” on Squidoo:
- Create new lenses.
- Visit other lenses and leave comments.
- Participate in quests.
- Add your input to polls.
- Take quizzes.
Every time you take one of the actions listed above, you get points. Once you have enough points, you move up a level. As you level up you get rewards, such as the following:
- You get access to more modules;
- You increase your opportunities of being awarded a Purple Star;
- You get Squidoo badges and trophies;
- You get access to a newsletter that offers helpful tips;
- You get a wider variety of templates to choose from, and so on.
You can improve your life by using this same system of leveling up. Continue reading below to find out how.
Step One – Identify Your Current Level
Suppose that you’re depressed and seriously overweight. If that’s your current situation, you’re at Level One for the life areas of both physical fitness and emotional well-being.
That’s OK. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to lose the game. It just means that right now–in those two areas of your life–you’re at the ground level. Now you just have to start working your way up the different game levels.
Step Two – Don’t Compare Yourself to Those Who Are At Level Ten
You’re sitting by the pool wearing a t-shirt and shorts because you’re too embarrassed to be seen in a bathing suit. After all, you haven’t been to the gym in months and you’ve been overindulging in chocolates and pastries. And, boy, does it show.
There’s a woman sitting across the pool from you wearing a bikini. She has what appears to be zero-fat, and a perfectly toned body. Let’s face it: in terms of physical fitness you’re at Level One and she’s at Level Ten.
Do you know why she’s at Level Ten? Because while you’re having a doughnut for breakfast, she’s having oatmeal. And while you’re sitting on the couch channel surfing, she’s out jogging. To sum it up, she’s at Level Ten because she’s taken the action necessary to get there. And you haven’t.
The good news is that if you start taking action to level up, you can also reach Level Ten. Eventually.
Step Three – You Can’t Leap From Level One to Level Ten
Remember that for the purposes of our example, you’re depressed. That is, you’re at Level One for emotional well-being. Level Ten in terms of emotional well-being is feeling bliss.
Can you move from being depressed to feeling bliss in one fell swoop? No, of course not. You need to move through many levels before you can go from being depressed to feeling bliss.
The levels from depression to bliss look something like the following:
- Level One – Depressed
- Level Two – Discouraged
- Level Three – Worried
- Level Four – Frustrated/Irritated
- Level Five – Bored
- Level Six – Content
- Level Seven – Hopeful/Optimistic
- Level Eight – Happy
- Level Nine – Passionate
- Level Ten – Blissful
You shouldn’t ask yourself how to move from Level One to Level Ten. Instead, ask yourself how to move from Level One to Level Two. Then, ask yourself how to move from Level Two to Level Three, from Level Three to Level Four, and so and so forth. You just keep leveling up until you get to Level Ten.
At each level the question becomes: “How do I move on to the next level?”
Step Four – Identify What the Next Level Looks Like
Let’s go back to our example in which you’re seriously overweight. You’ve already accepted that in terms of physical fitness you’re currently at Level One. Now, what does Level Two look like? You could decide that you’ll know that you’ve reached Level Two when you’ve achieved the following:
- You’ve lost 20 pounds.
- You’ve lost three inches from around your waist.
- You’ve gone down two dress sizes.
Now that you know what Level Two looks like, you have to identify how you’re going to get there.
Step Five – Identify the Action You Need to Take To Level Up
Again, you’re at Level One in terms of physical fitness. You weigh 250 pounds and everything jiggles when you move. What action can you take in order to move up to Level Two? Here are some ideas:
- Start walking 20 minutes a day.
- Start keeping a food log.
- Switch from white bread to whole wheat bread.
- Switch from regular milk to skim milk.
- Instead of adding a pack of sugar to your coffee, add half a pack.
- Drink more water.
- Have desert after dinner once a week, instead of every day.
However, remember that this is a game. Look for ways to make the action that you need to take in order to level up as fun as possible.
For example, there’s an app that you can download called “Zombies, Run!” which turns your daily run (or walk) into a virtual flee-for-your-life adventure. Each time that you go out for a walk or a run, you’re given a mission. You have to complete your mission without being caught by zombies.
If you want to drink more water, get yourself a funky glass. You can also try adding something interesting to your water, like strawberries, orange slices, or cucumber slices. Tell yourself that your morning cup of coffee is your reward for drinking 8 ounces of water as soon you wake up.
Turn the actions that you need to take in order to level up into a game.
Step Six – Act
Obviously, you gain absolutely nothing by making a list of the things that you need to do in order to level up, and then failing to take action. Once you’ve identified what you need to do, do it!
Step Seven – Reward Yourself
One of the best parts of leveling up is that you get a reward. Of course, losing 20 pounds is a great reward in and of itself! However, it helps if you give yourself a little something extra. In addition, make the reward related to the game that you’re playing.
As an illustration, when you reach Level Two you could get yourself a piece of equipment that you can use to help you with your workouts. Here are some examples:
- A watch with GPS;
- A stability ball;
- Colorful t-shirts to wear during your walks.
After all, you’re no longer a newbie. You are now at Level Two, and you have the props that go along with being at this higher level. In addition, your rewards will help you in leveling up even further.
Step Eight – Keep Leveling Up
Once you’ve reached Level Two, you’re ready to move on to Level Three. Simply follow the same process:
- Ask yourself what Level Three looks like.
- Ask yourself what action you need to take in order to move up to Level Three.
- Make the action fun (turn it into a game).
- Take the necessary action.
- Once you’ve reached Level Three, reward yourself.
Keep leveling up until you reach Level Ten.
What level are you currently at for each area of your life (physical fitness, emotional well-being, relationships, career, and so on)? How can you move up to the next level? How can you make the action that you need to take fun? Live your best life by living your life as a game and continuously looking for ways to level up.
Let the games begin!