Habitica (Part 1 of 2): The Captain Sets Sail

Review by Chris

Habitica1If only work flowed like a 1980’s action montage. I wouldn’t even be picky about the song choice (although, Bonnie Tyler’s “I Need a Hero” is fierce). The sad truth is that, as far as actual work habits are concerned, the flow of effort is less “eye of the tiger” and more “eye of the comatose sloth”.

In an effort to nurture my better habits, I re-downloaded HabitRPG and promptly received a message notifying me of the creation of an improved iteration of this idea called “Habitica”.

For the uninitiated, Habitica is a fusion of a goal tracker and classic RPG mechanics. In fact, it may stake the sincerest claim to having RPG elements of all in the variable sea of apps that are about as closely related to the role playing experience as modern cable news is related to insightful broadcasting.

After registering an account with Habitica (either in-app or at habitica.com), you can customize your avatar using a fairly limited array of styles and accessories (more are made available as you progress). You are then free to add habits to your list, as well as daily tasks that punish you for missing them. These habits can either be positive (e.g. workout) or negative (e.g. eating junk food) with the reward of experience or a penalty of health, depending on which type of habit is observed. These habits have adjustable difficulty levels which scale up/down their rewards or punishments.

There are bosses to challenge you, inns where you can rest and post public messages, and guilds to join. There are also collaboration mechanics that turn Habitica into a social experience. By forming a party, your allies can provide the group-based motivation you need to keep up with your habits (wouldn’t want to be the weak link on the quest). Guilds provide you with the means to connect with people who share your interests and experiences.

Humble beginnings

The Habitica website offers a much larger interface with more collaboration options, so you will find the majority of your collaborating and character-building may be done via the browser as opposed to in app.

Naturally, the best Habitica can do is facilitate your self-improvement. Gamifying your life serves as a fun motivator (with less of buyer’s remorse of expensive activity trackers), but you have to decide for yourself if you are truly up for the grind of goal-orientation.

They say it takes 30 days to build a habit. Okay, that’s more a catchy saying than an actual rule of life. But screw it! I have thirty days, a backlog of reading to get through, a bass gathering dust on its stand and a body that I’m starting to let slide into disrepair; I’m going to set goal to address these horrendous defects and report back to you in thirty days with news from the wonderful world of Habitica.

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