Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Level Up in Crafting

Back in January, I talked about my stitching goals for the year.  With so many projects in my queue, I have to make sure to stitch every day that I can and I wanted a way to keep myself on track.  When I went to Home Ec last Saturday morning, my friend Angela brought up an intriguing option for those who want extra incentives to keep up with a task.  (Extra incentives other than the finished project or the satisfaction of a job well done, of course.)

HabitRPG turns your goals into a role-playing game, like Dungeons & Dragons or World of Warcraft.  You begin with a basic character that you can customize.  I'm not very imaginative--I just like seeing how I look as a low-resolution video game character.

Then you set up tasks that you want to make a regular part of your life, or that you need to accomplish by a deadline.  They come in three types:
  • Dailies:  Tasks you need to do every day or at regular intervals (Walk the dog, weed the garden)
  • Habits:  Tasks that you want to encourage yourself to do more regularly (Don't eat junk food, take the stairs instead of the elevator)
  • To-Do List:  One-time tasks

Whenever you complete a task, you earn Experience Points, and gold and silver coins.  If you fail to do a daily task, you lose health points.

As the days go by, the tasks that you do more frequently earn you fewer points and coins so that you have extra incentive to do the less-frequent tasks.  The experience points allow you to attain higher levels for your character, which unlocks incentives like clothes, weapons, pets, and potions.  You can use the gold and silver coins to buy prizes in the game, or you can set up your own prizes (100 gold coins = 1 new embroidery pattern).  If you go too long without accomplishing daily tasks, then your character will lose all its health points and die.

Lots of people use HabitRPG as a way to remind them to do less pleasant daily tasks like cleaning, or to help them stay on a diet-and-exercise regiment.  This is a game where you set many of the rules, so people use it to make progress in a hobby, too.  There are forums called "guilds" where you can meet other people with your interests and get ideas on how to use HabitRPG to increase your skills.  If you have friends who use it, you can set up "parties" or "quests" to keep everyone accountable as a group.  There are already guilds for stitching and knitting/crochet, so crafters are in good company here.

With its RPG style and reliance on the honor system, this is not the right method for everybody.  My husband freely admits that if he signed up for the site, he would try to "break" the system by doing things like counting breathing as a daily task.  For those who are sincere in their desire to change their habits and have a love of computer games, HabitRPG seems like an innovative way keep on track.  It is highly adaptable to whatever area you want to improve.  I am using it to keep myself stitching for at least 30 minutes daily, to finish one project before moving on to new ones . . . and to see how I would look wielding a mace and riding a hedgehog.

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