Gamifying Your Goals

Gamifying Your Goals

Semi-dissatisfied with the online resources to gamify goals, I’ve decided to create my own post. This is a two-parter choose your own adventure style blog pair. Part 1 explains some principles and resources to help you create your own gamifying journey. Then, part 2 reviews some extra elements you could incorporate into gamifying your goals. Please take many liberties with picking and choosing elements of what you read next!


What are the fundamental parts to gamify your goals?


Come up with Goals

gamify goals

Start with larger dreams and visions of what you want in your life and then break them down. Another tip is to try to frame these goals in the positive (I want to add something positive) rather than the negative (I want to take away a negative).

Deductive goal setting: lifetime; 3 years; 1 year; 3 months

Optional activity:

Find a blank sheet of paper and a pen. Set a timer for 5 minutes.

Divide the paper into 4 sections with the labels:

  • Lifetime
  • 3 years (date: __________)
  • 1 year (date: ___________)
  • 3 months (date: ___________)

Ask yourself this question:

If I could be anything, do anything, or have anything, what would it be?

Don’t limit yourself to reality here- write whatever comes to mind. Travel to the moon; start a revolution; visit 100 countries, etc. This isn’t the step where you justify your goals or limit your imagination.

Let the ideas flow for 5 minutes.


Next, go back to each section and circle one goal that would have the most positive impact on your life.

Now you have 4 that you can break down into smaller steps and timelines.


Create a System

creating a system to gamify goals

Come up with a way of tracking each small step within a greater goal. This is important for you to really feel satisfied when you complete each step.


In the second part of my blog, I explain more about “keeping score” as a way to have a system.

Essentially, it is any way you can think to organize progress towards your goals, and regular check-ins to add new goals along the way. For example, the optional activity you completed earlier can be done annually to just check-in as you develop.



Create Rewards

goals and rewards

Yup, just like our furry friends, we are totally motivated by rewards.

What are some categories of rewards you could choose from so it’s not all dog treats all the time?

  • Find a new “item” you design within your system
  • Stickers! Or small items like fun erasers, etc.
  • Watching an episode of your favorite show
  • Checking off a box on a to-do list!
  • Taking a luxurious bath
  • Putting another $10 towards a new game/book
  • And the ever reliable dog treats (maybe try a human-safe treat for yourself though)


Another tip: try not to choose rewards that are essential like eating a meal, taking a walk, going on a date, etc. Be mindful of the rewards being something extra rather than depriving yourself of your basic needs if you don’t happen to complete your quest for that day.


Customize it!

customize system

Take some time to explore what actually motivates you. Is it the pleasing visual component of completing a task? Sharing and celebrating with others what you’ve achieved? Notifications from external reminders? Using an app that has created fun rewards? Just the visualization of completing a quest? Once you’ve identified this, lean into it hard!


I’ll share my own system related to my work to get your gears going!

After realizing my goal of continued learning in my field, I was overwhelmed with all that I could research and gain knowledge in. I needed a way to keep all the readings and training recommendations straight.


So, I created my own version of “Sims bubbles” – the ones that fill up as a Sim learns something new. I created a separate bubble for each topic of interest. In pencil I have the next book I could read, podcast I could listen to, or specific training I could take to complete a new “level” in each topic.

sims bubbles gamify knowledge

While my Sims bubbles are largely about gaining knowledge, I also have creative goals. At the moment, writing blogs is a huge component of this. The actual process of posting a blog, and seeing my website fill up with content is rewarding in and of itself for me. This is just an example of how a sneaky reward can be amplified if we intentionally make it part of the system.


Other Resources

Here is an example of a blogger logging his process of gamifying a job interview.

Apps that create a system for you:

Epic Win– iphone only. Role-play spin on tracking to-do list items.

Habitica– Pretty cute, but maybe overwhelming in that they create a system for you to learn.

For tracking milestones only:

Trello- for tracking milestones

Wall Calendar for tracking milestones


Passion Planner– good for taking a deductive approach for goal setting

In the 2nd part of this blog pair I will be reviewing extra elements to set you up for success on your gamify journey.

Julia Stamman, LPC

Austin counselor for gamifying goals

Hi, I’m Julia! I’m an LPC (licensed professional counselor) practicing in South Austin. I understand the personal importance of a therapist groking my lifestyle, so I started helping others who identify as geeks, gamers, and/or misfits. Over time, I realized that I’m passionate about attachment-related trauma, social anxiety, and neurodiversity. On this blog, I write on topics like the overlap of alternative culture and mental health, and how to find services catered to these lifestyles.

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