6 Ways Habitica Will Rock Your New Years Resolutions

On the first day of the new year, we were ready to take on the world. We had new diets, new sleep routines, and everything in order to start our year of unprecedented success. Now the air of enthusiasm is starting to wane and we're wondering why we even tried in the first place.

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Erasing 2016 from a chalk board
credit: Twenty20

Little do you know there is a website that wants to do it all for us. To be the life coach we never had. With its retro flare and modern interface, there is nothing this app can't conquer.

Meet Habitica

I'm talking, of course, about Habitica, a free habit-building productivity app that sort of treats your life like a game.

Avatars from Habitica

Take a peek at my profile. Habits can be good or bad, and you can click on them as many times as you like throughout the day. Daily tasks can be set to appear based on any schedule of your choosing, but must be completed by midnight each time. To-dos can have a deadline, or just stick around on your page until you get around to them. Rewards can be real-life treats or in-game prizes like weapons and outfits for your avatar.

A Habitica profile

You can customizeHabiticato your heart's content and with any life goals in mind, but I put my page together with the hope of getting in shape. The site offered its own suggestions (namely, giving up junk food and eating vegetables, but I'm just not ready for that kind of commitment).

I did take two of its suggestions: flossing and doing the dishes. Flossing has become a daily routine for me for the first time in my life, but the "dishes" task has been left to rot since my first day on the site. What I'm trying to say is, do not come to my house.

So you're trying to rock at your newyearsresolutions? Do what I did and give Habitica a shot. Here's why it might work for you.

1. It celebrates your successes

Habiticais like that friend who comments on each of your posts, loves all of your photos, and who checks in once a day just to say hello. It is the digital companion who will never leave, no matter how many cheat days you take on your diet. It will congratulate you for every mild success, long after your friends have grown tired of hearing about your daily routine.

The Habitica interface

Go me!

2. It makes you push yourself

Whatever you come toHabiticahoping to accomplish, you will find yourself doing more. A couple daily tasks will help to raise your level at first, but by the end of the first week, those few experience points will simply not be enough, and like a resolution junkie, you'll need to up the dosage for the same rush of accomplishment.

The Habitica interface

The most rabidly successful players include all aspects of their life into the game, from brushing their teeth in the morning to reading before bed.

3. It pools together everyone’s best ideas

InHabitica's"Challenges" section, you will find a list of ideas created by ordinary users. The list contains everything under the sun, from learning a new language to having lucid dreams. Each is divided into different habits, dailies, to-dos, and rewards, just like regular gameplay. Completing one of the challenges results in a reward, just like a quest from a video game. But best of all, it will expand your horizons well beyond the handful of reasons that brought you to thesiteto begin with.

The Habitica interface

What you see is a challenge designed to get users in the habit of drawing every day. The suggested ideas include viewing previous drawings in a positive light and looking around for inspiration. Users can take these suggestions, or add their own.

4. It captures your competitive side

Have you ever been on a treadmill at the gym and leaned over to see how fast everyone else is going? We're all human. We can't help being competitive sometimes. Lucky for us, we can team up with our friends and see just how much better they are at managing their own lives.

Habitica avatars

Just look at these two avatars. To the left is me, a newly promoted level 2 warrior. To the right is a friend of mine, a devoted player since March of 2016. Just looking at that retro sprite makes me want to go wash the dishes.

5. It keeps you on schedule

In this class, there is no credit for late assignments. If you want to level up, buy weapons, and defeat monsters, you must be ready to keep to your commitments every day.

My first mistake while "playing"Habiticawas missing the invisible 12:00 AM deadline. I had already exercised for theday,but was waiting to log in until after I flossed at bedtime (remember,Habiticahas me crushing it when it comes to flossing). By the time I logged in, my chance to get credit for my dailies had already expired, and a third of my health bar had vanished. That hurt. Thankfully my avatar sustained most of the damage. I lived to face another day of weight training and aerobics, this time with all due credit.

If,like me, you don't turn into a pumpkin at midnight, my advice is to wait to check off your accomplishment until after midnight every single day. It will take some getting used to, but at least you will not face the same dreadful fate.

6. It won’t let you give up

Push notifications may suck, but they can also come in handy. If you're like me, it takes a while to start up a new routine.Habitica'sdaily alert helped to remind me that the app exists and I should probably look at it. If you prefer, you can set up custom alerts throughout the day to keep you on track.

iPhone start screen with a Habitica reminder

If notifications aren't enough, there are plenty of game features to act as a hook. As you progress, you face off against different foes, starting with the fearsome dust bunny and leading to horrific creatures like an evil shade. Each coin you earn goes toward better, shinier equipment and cuter, more magical pets. In other words, there is something for everyone. Personally, I'll be happy so long as I can one day lift my car over my head.

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