Gamifying Your Goals 201

Gamifying Your Goals 201

Now that you’ve started your journey with the first part of my blog here, you’ve now leveled up to level 2! The following are all optional tips I’ve adapted from Jane McGonigal.


  1. Power-ups

power up for gamifying goals

These are different than rewards in that you don’t have to complete something in order to use power-ups. Collect good things that reliably make you happier, healthier, or stronger.

Write out 10 things you can do that are free, easy, and never fail to make you feel at least a little bit better.

Some examples:

  • drink a glass of water
  • sing your favorite song
  • set a timer for 3 minutes and leave a positive comment to as many friends as you can
  • name two things you’re looking forward to in the next week
  • watch one video of cute animals
  • go outside in the sun for 5 minutes
  • give yourself a hug


  1. Find and fight the bad guys

This refers to anything that blocks progress towards your goals or causes distress.

Write out; create a character sheet; or draw a picture of the monster/boss that represents what makes tackling goals hardest. Then, write in what the monster’s weaknesses are, and how to defeat it.

For example:

The Sticky Furniture

Bad guy for Gamifying Goals

Signature move: staying on the couch or in bed all day instead of getting up.

Weaknesses: Smell of coffee; ordering food you have to pick up; a friend asking to meet at cafe.

How to defeat: get up for just a count of five; and when you get to five say out loud “I’m free!” Then if you want to go back into the stickiness you can, but you might find you want to stay unstuck. Repeat every 30 minutes as needed.

Lord Unending Wail

lord unending wail bad guy

Signature move: instead of starting or finishing project, all you hear is the unending scream of “not gooooood enough” and “you’ll probably faiiiiiil.”

Weaknesses: rainy day folder; reframes; contrary evidence.

How to defeat: create a rainy day folder with all of the times (no matter how small) you succeeded in something. Success can be a friend sending you a card; an old email from a boss saying great job; something you published or created; words of affirmation from someone. Create an actual folder or electronic version of one, and put it somewhere that’s really easily accessible.


The Star Wars Opening Crawl To-Do List

star wars opening crawl gamifying goals

Signature move: the crawl never ends as you sit down to create a to-do list, and because it never ends you’re not able to start on one of the items.

Weaknesses: prioritizing; Star Trek fans; categorizing.

How to defeat: okay, just get it out of your system. Set a timer for 5 minutes and write as many to-do list items on a black piece of paper you can think of. Then take a deep breath, and begin to categorize them. Color code by difficulty; length of time; or priority. Circle only 5 that need to get done next. Then create a new to-do list with only those 5 items, and fold up the long list somewhere out-of-sight.


  1. Quests

quests for gamifying goals

Seek out and complete simple, daily quests.

Design these quests ahead of time (each Monday of the week for example). Make sure that they are specific, measurable goals that equip you with new strengths and abilities. Feel free to get creative here with how you come up with, track, and record the completion of these quests.


Think of my Sims bubble example earlier. Alternatively, use an example from your favorite video game’s quest bars and recognition of completing the mission, like in Dragon Quest Builders 2 (collecting those gratitude hearts is amazing):

dragon quest builders 2

This is where you can enter a reward system. If you complete three quests, you get something that you’ve already chosen for yourself.


  1. Allies

allies for gamifying goals

Choose an ally to help play along with you.

Think of someone in your real life or online that you know well that can be your chosen ally for your journey. If they want to play along with their own quests, that’s great too!


Think of how they can best support you- is it weekly check-ins to see what you’ve completed and what’s coming up? Giving you advice about what new quests you could add? Sending you inspirational quotes by text? Choosing a power-up from your list to do together? Check in with yourself about what’s most energizing and helpful for you, then give those quests to your ally.


  1. Keep Score

keeping score

Develop a system to keep score of your progress.

This will help your brain remember that you are achieving the goals, and not just adding new quests all the time.


Set up a system for yourself that looks something like this:

Each day, win by completing three power-ups; one bad guy battle; and one quest.

If your system works better for weekly or monthly updates, adapt the number of quests to fit!

Track personal records, for example:

The most power-ups you can activate in a single hour.

Take inventory of overall growing strengths and goals in some way.


You’ve come to the end of this blog, are you overwhelmed?

Yes. Maybe this sounds great, but I don’t have the time to do this right now.

That’s okay! Another way to ease into this concept is to join my email list and receive weekly quests. These quests won’t necessarily be related to your specific goals, but they might get your wheels turning.


Nope! I’m ready to start my customized gamifying goal journey.

Great! Don’t forget to circle back to the first part in this blog-pair if you haven’t already. Please do share with me once you’ve come up with your system so we can nerd out together!

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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