After last week’s post went
Dailies vs habits – who cares?
The next time I tried, I made the same mistakes, with fewer dailies and predictable results. Again, my character died and stayed dead for a good while. Needless to say, it was frustrating.
Breakthrough? Not really
Around the time that Mary Robinette Kowal published her post on how sometimes writer’s block is just depression (it’s still a great post and worth the read) that I started yet another attempt at using Habitica. Somewhere around then, I realized just how useful explicitly defining both the positive and negative sides of a habit is. And by this, I do mean the stuff in the habits column of Habitica. It seemed like it would be awesome; state your goals explicitly and surely it will just work out this time! Things like “Sat down to write/Got up without writing” seemed like it would be the salvation to my sins.
Ultimately, this attempt failed for the same reasons the previous ones had; I had too many things in the dailies column and not nearly enough time or energy to get all of it done.
Finally, we come to my most recent attempt and the one that seems to be sticking. I decided to try again after reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits. Something that he said in the book really stuck with me.
Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.James Clear – Atomic Habits
So I thought about the kind of person I want to be. Or rather, the kinds of person I want to be. I listed things like “I am a storyteller; I’m always working on a story or several” and “I am sensible with money; I am working toward being debt-free and financially independent” in my BuJo notes on the book. I came up with about a dozen things I wanted to be and listed them all. I’m not pursuing all of them but they’re in my BuJo and out of my head and easy to find when/if I want to return to them.
Then I turned the 4-6 identities I wanted to start actively pursuing into tags on Habitica. After
My to-dos are a mixture of both, mostly larger projects that need to get done. They aren’t so much a habit I want to build, even if they are building toward that future I’m dreaming about. This year I’m trying to get a short story out the door every month. Each short story is a todo marked hard and with an associated checklist. The scenes that need a rewrite for my novel are likewise a todo and a checklist. They’re related to the storyteller identity and build toward it, but can’t be classified as either a habit or a daily.
Why this and not that?
On the surface, it seems like Habitica on its own should be enough to motivate me to get my shit done. It’s a nerdy little distraction that rewards me for getting things done. It comes with ALL THE TICK BOXES FOR FUCKS SAKE! Turns out, that was pretty far from the case. Instead of a motivator, over several attempts, Habitica turned into just another chore that I had to do. And since I wasn’t getting all of the others done, what point was it? I needed that connection to the intrinsic motivation through the habit identities to actually see the point of it all. The RPG elements are fun, sure, but I get games from so many other locations as well, another one wasn’t enough to get me coming back day
Ultimately, these are all just tools that I use and discard as they work for me. I kept coming back to Habitica because it IS fun. I’ve almost finished killing off a Skeletal Tyrannosaur with my party as I write this. In fact, this post might even be the killing blow. It’s fun to use the reward coins to build my character. It’s just that sometimes fun alone is not enough.
Do you use Habitica differently? How?