Gamifying Goals

Allison Fleck
3 min readSep 13, 2020

Using the same techniques that keep us addicted to social media, mindless games, and endless scrolling through news sites, you can set up feedback that makes you more likely to achieve your goals.

Though there are apps like Habitica, Epic To-Do List, and Grow, that will track your goals for you, sometimes a simple spreadsheet is the best option and easiest to maintain.

I am, admittedly, often sucked into those stupid idle games where you are rewarded for clicking a screen or, often, just for letting time pass. There are rewards for watching ads or paying money that allow you to level up faster.

I have played an (unfortunately) countless number of them over the years. Keep in mind that the most glowing reviews of these types of games state “A great way to kill time!”

Download. Waste a ton of precious time. Uninstall. Repeat ad nauseum.

But there are important lessons to be learned here. If a game can short circuit my brain and get me click on a screen for hours, how can I use these same principles to get myself to do the things that I want to do.

Getting Started

I made a spreadsheet with 10 arbitrary stretch goals that I want to accomplish. These are all measurable goals, but there is no deadline. I want to read 1,000 books, run 10,000 miles, and be able to juggle for 5 minutes straight.

Setting the Levels

I created 100 levels for each goal. Like those addicting leveling up games, I made the levels harder as time went on and decided that each level should be 5% harder than the level before it. For the running goal, this meant that if level one was running 10 miles, then level 2 was to run 10.5 miles.

Early wins allow the celebration of success and provide positive reinforcement, making sticking to new habits more likely. I leave the spreadsheet open all day so I can sneak in a couple of squats during a break from work or juggle while listening to webinars.

Benefits of Level Tracking

Having tried apps and other spreadsheets in the past, I’ve found that this method works better for a busy work and home life. As anyone who has ever played a role playing game knows, sometimes you have…

Allison Fleck

Data analyst and life analyst. Proud maker of mistakes. A big fan of learning lessons the hard way.