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  • Writer's pictureIndy Goodwin

Game your way to better habits - The best apps to trick you into making better choices

Updated: Feb 13, 2021

Here's the thing. With my mental illness and general disdain for any type of self care building better habits can be a difficult thing to do. I had so many things I wanted to do to better myself during lockdown and instead I ended up getting sucked into Persona 5 Royal and being depressed that I couldn't visit my boyfriend in Spain.

Now we are firmly in Lockdown 2.0 here in Scotland (and will be until at least March) I decided this time to look for different ways of doing things. For me, gamification helps me a lot to encourage me to do things. Here are the apps I've used to make myself a bit less of a goblin.

Because of said boyfriend in Spain I decided I'd like to learn Spanish so I was ready to go visit him again as soon as we can fly safely. Duolingo is fantastic. The lessons are bitesize and include listening, reading, writing and speaking exercises in them, easily completeable in a coffee break. You earn EXP for completing lessons which then determines where you are on the leaderboard. It also encourages continuous learning with a streak mechanic. I'm on day 82 now, and it would be a shame to break it. There are so many lessons to learn and the subscription is option (but recommended because fuck ads) so you can complete all the content for free. The monthly subscription is £12. It's an easy way to learn and if that was a lockdown goal for you you can't go far wrong with Duolingo. You can find it on the Play Store here and on the App Store here.

I know I'm not the only one who's sleep pattern has taken a beating. Getting too stressed out before you go to sleep? Give lóona a try. It gives you daily sleepscapes to complete while listening to a short story. It's very relaxing and colouring the landscapes in bit by bit is quite satisfying. There is a membership for this one, but I got it on offer for £6 for the year. It's already helped me fall asleep earlier so I can definitely say it's value for money. Lóona also offers a streak counter and shows you how many minutes you were 'mindful' for. Available on the Play Store here, and the App Store here.

I couldn't write this article without mentioning the Daddy of all gamification apps. Habitica takes your to do list and a list of habits you want to make or break and combines it with an 8-bit RPG. You have an avatar that goes on adventures and is damaged when you fail to complete a task/choose to do a bad habit. I found this one particularly difficult to set up, but the notion of my little avatar going on mighty advent

ures because I remembered to drink water is very appealing. Best of all, I haven't paid a thing for it yet. Find it on the Play Store here, and the App Store here.

Want to get stronger or fitter but also like a lil motivation? Fitocracy has you covered. With EXP, badges and leaderboards there's plenty to keep you moving. Log your activity, gain EXP, rise up the ranks and get fitter while doing so. The badges also function as achievements, so if you're the type who HAS TO GET THEM ALL Fitocracy may be for you! The community is also pretty friendly, people will congratulate you if you killed it that day and it is safe enough there to ask for advice.* You can find Fitocracy on the App Store here, but if you are on Android like myself their mobile website isn't too bad to navigate.

*Your experience may vary!

If you were looking for something to help you achieve your goals I'm sure one of the four will help you. I also feel at this point though I should remind you that it's okay to do nothing. I know we're all sick of the phrase "unprecedented times" but it is true. None of us have lived through this sort of thing before. If you feel like no amount of gamification is going to help you out of your slump then that's ok. It's okay to be unproductive. Take care of yourself, do stuff you enjoy. If you feel up to it, any of these apps will give you a hand to achieve whatever goal you set. Even if it's just drink more water.

Speaking of, have you drank some water today?

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