I’ve become engrossed in a book very similar to my concept of “Zookeeper’s Guide to Fitness”. I thought reading a book with the same ideas as my own would cave my motivation, as I feared someone beat me to the punch, but actually I feel quite the opposite. I am motivated and stoked to share another program with just a few subtle differences, to reinforce the first one. They are on the right track, and I love what they are doing with fitness and achieving goals. I am bringing more to the table.
The book I’m reading is Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb. Steve is the founder of nerdfitness.com, and I am totally fan-girling his methods and philosophies so hard! Basically, he suggests turning your ambitions and fitness goals into a real life video game. Go on quests to bring you closer to your dreams, and even reward yourself along the way.
What really woke me up, so to speak, was Steve’s activity of listing all our quests out in different categories- Physical (fitness), Work (career), Fun (just for play type quests), Mental (learning), Adventure (travel and well, adventure), Master, Epic, Legacy, Courage (face your fears quests) Gratitude (Pay it Forward type quests), Freedom (I guessed financial freedom was the theme). Not sure the difference between Master, Epic, and Legacy quests, but they were categories to start thinking of what ideas have been on my Bucket Lists, on my Pipe Dreams lists, and my Aspirations-Hopes and Dreams lists. And really pumped me to work on achieving these hopes and aspirations. Maybe it was just the fact I love making lists. But the activity really spoke to me and got me very excited to move forward with my goals and dreams.
There is always some issue with working someone else’s program. I see it when I hold workshops on Fitness Through Operant Conditioning and people don’t completely understand my idea of breaking habits down into small, achievable steps. So it isn’t surprising that as excited and motivated I was by Nerd Fitness, I ended up disappointed in how the online program set up for subscribers fell short for me. There are lists of quests to complete, and even points to award yourself (I love this idea, I’ll share more in a minute), but most of the quests weren’t what I want or need to focus on. There is nothing wrong with having no conservation focused quests on a site dedicated to geeky fandom video game playing enthusiasts, but it is what I was looking for.
But Steve is totally onto something with his point system, and being focused on positive reinforcement, I knew I could work with this. I just needed to make it my own. How I accomplished that was completely serendipitous.
I have been tracking my days for my new writing habit. I use the free iPhone app called “Strides” which doesn’t let me track my word count each day, but I log in and mark off when I’ve achieved my minimum of 250 words each and every day. I started this to really focus on developing a habit of writing, something, anything, once a day. 250 words isn’t much. It’s not supposed to be a lot. I have set myself up right now for success. 250 words is so easy, I can’t fail to achieve it each and every day. Once the writing has really set itself as a strong habit, my goal is to gradually start increasing the minimum word count.
I have a lot of side projects going on besides my fitness book. I’m working on an Exercise Card deck with animal-themed movements. I am also putting together a great companion book to Zookeeper’s Guide to Fitness called “Conservation Fitness Jump-Start” (it’s a working title). This guide will give readers a 30-day meal plan, recipes, and workouts. It shares information about nutrition, fitness, and conservation, but in a way that guides readers to try it themselves. I’m also going to be working on getting quality photos and videos of me performing exercises and workouts for subscribers to my website, and those who purchase my meal plan and exercise cards. Some of these projects are difficult to determine “word count” when figuring out if I’ve achieved my writing goal. I also want to allow myself to watch more inspirational and educational programs that are relevant to my projects, take notes, and apply those lessons to my routine. Many of these programs take a full hour to watch. It’s pertinent information, but once again, how do I transfer those activities toward my “word count”?
A few days ago I was making my goal sheet for items I wanted to work on for the week and I had written my online resources of Optimize, Collabornation, and even Nerd Fitness (I’m really digging Steve’s blog posts, his videos, and his motivational speeches) as appropriate activities toward my word count. As long as I took notes on these programs, I would count each class as 500 words. The next day, I was going through my list of possible “to dos” and noticed the Online Resource section. There was also a section on Conservation Fitness Guide, Animal Exercise Cards, submitting articles for publication, and getting photos for those articles. However, what struck me was I had accidentally (or, as I am absolutely loving this word lately- serendipitously) written the word “points” instead of “words”.
A light bulb went off. I can make writing and working on different projects a game! I can use positive reinforcement to reward my behavior of accumulating points. I went ballistic. I had the chance to do my absolutely favorite writing activity- creating lists! AND incorporate my passion for operant conditioning to achieve these items written on the lists. I have just started, but I am sharing with you my current Campaigns. The Quest system from Nerd Fitness didn’t fit me exactly, but they showed me the way to create a system that works fantastically for me! I can’t wait to level up and make great things happen!
Fitness Campaign 10,000 points = Movie Night
|Do a workout||250 points|
|Achieve personal record in workout (bench, pull-up, deadlift, etc)||500 points|
|Beat previous score on workout||500 points|
|Stretch and foam roll (especially quads)||500 points|
|Go for a hike||1000 points|
Eating “Green” Campaign 15,000 points= Out to Dinner
|Drink glass of water||100 points|
|No eating after 9 pm||500 points|
|Home-cooked meal||100 points|
|Log meals||200 points|
|Meal Plan for week||500 points|
|Sticking to meal plan each day||500 points|
Household 5,000 points = Day off Island
|Clean kitchen||500 points|
|Sweep floor||250 points|
|Fold laundry||100 points|
|Clean desk||500 points|
|Take things to storage||500 points|
|Clean car (inside or out)||250 points|
Health Campaign 5,000 points = Whole Foods Shopping Spree
|Lose 1 pound (not to exceed 2 a week)||500 points|
|Bed by 10:00 pm||500 points|
Writing Campaign 25,000 points = Day at Spa for massage, facial, whatever)
|Unsubscribe to email||100 points|
|Comment on friends’ blog post||100 points|
|Get inbox below 10 emails total||100 points|
|Optimize Master Class or Collabornation Program||500 points|
|Philosopher’s Note or Nerd Fitness||250 points|
|In-person classes or workshops||500 points|
|Read a book (once finished can collect points)||250 points|
|Attend co-works for an hour||500 points|
|Writing Critique Group||250 points|
|Toastmasters Speech||500 points|
Animal Exercise Cards
|Create 18 decks||100 points|
|Create videos for exercises or workouts||1000 points|
|ZooFit Challenges||1000 points|
Facebook Group Engagement
|Interesting articles, blog posts||250 points|
|ZooFit Challenges||500 points|
|South Island CrossFit groups||250 points|
Conservation Fitness Guide
|Write-ups on nutrition/conservation/fitness||Per word|
|Meal plan tasks||250 points|
|Gathering photos||500 points|
Reuse, Recycle, Reduce Your Waist
|Writing (intro, instructions)||Per word|
|Actually making equipment||500 points|
|Gathering/taking photos||500 points|
|Submitting to publication||500 points|
|Guest blogging (outside of North Sound Writers)||1500 points|
Zookeeper Guide to Fitness
|Editing||250 points per page|
|Public Programs (Parks and Recs, Bootcamps, Seminars, Workshops, Conferences, etc)||3500 points|
You may notice that some of my tasks have high point value, even though they don’t feel like “boss battles” (doing a public program, guest blogging, and getting YouTube channel with regular vlogs are huge “boss battles”). For instance, I don’t meditate as often as I feel I should. Doesn’t really matter why I don’t, I just don’t. So if I pump up the point value, while I’m at level 1, I am more apt to try for those activities to boost my overall score. When I level up, say , after I’ve collected the jackpot a few times, the points needed to redeem reward will go up.
I have successfully turned my writing habit, fitness habit, and other life habits into a freaking video game!
Be jealous. Be very very jealous. And then go level up your own life in your own way!
I really love this point system idea and I want to do it with you. But I’m obsessed with turning data into visual pleasing interfaces so I may have to build something to track the points. Eventually if I get time, until then I will just have to use paper.