I’ve always been competitive, both with others and with myself. I was a really good softball player. When I was about eight-years-old I had an almost perfect batting average on my team and I loved to hit. I’d learned playing baseball in the street with my older brother and his friends. During one game I’d already already had a couple of solid hits so the coach for the other team told the pitcher to walk me. I was so angry. I wanted to hit and that coach was taking the fun out of the game for me.

Today, there a lot of games that I play.  I golf, I shoot hoops with my daughter, play a little pool, and the occasional board game, but “gamification” – when points and the ability to compete against others are applied to non-official games – has become a mainstay throughout various areas of life.  And the concept of gamification definitely plays to my competitiveness. 

I try to close the rings on my Apple Watch every day (move calories, activity minutes, and stand hours).  I pay attention to streaks for my habits (as of writing this I’ve meditated 286 days in a row), not wanting to break that chain.  

Is this anal? I don’t know, but it seems to work to keep me active and consistent with a mindfulness practice, both of which have a positive effect on my mental health.

The other night my wife was listening to another podcast and Gretchen Rubin shared an idea a listener had for hitting her goals for the year. The woman created a bingo card with each of her goals on it. As she completes that goal, she marks it off on her bingo card. 

Gamification may not be appealing or even work for everyone, but for some of us at least, it can be a good way to keep us motivated and on track.

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