In This Episode…
Today I share my thoughts on how the Headspace App is a perfect example of using gamification for the development of productive habits. It is a theme that has come to my attention a couple of times in the last week so I thought I’d share it with you again.
Episode Transcript (Edited)…
I have talked about gamification in a previous episode – Episode 136 One Very Effective Way To Embed A Productive Habit.
Hi and welcome to today’s episode of the Profit Productivity Podcast. It’s your host, Michael Tipper. Who else would it be?
Now, one of the things I’m doing at the moment is I am meditating every morning. I’ve been doing it solidly for three months or so now, but it’s something I have done on and off over the last 20 or so years. I’ve always found that when I do it, it makes a big difference.
At the moment I’m on a run of form using the Headspace app. Now the Headspace app is something which I highly recommend. It’s got all sorts of courses and little chunks of meditation from one minute all the way through to 20 minutes across a variety of different topics and approaches to meditation. It is something I highly recommend.
It’s been really, really useful for me and I’ve been doing a Letting Go Of Stress Course. I’ve done it for the second time now. It’s in three parts with 10 sessions to each part. You just basically learn a way of dealing with stress. So it’s really, really powerful.
One of the things it’s got in there is this issue of gamification. So when you’ve done an episode or when you’ve done some meditation, it tracks it. Every time you do it on a consecutive days it tracks out for you and shows you the number of consecutive days.
Now I’m currently on a run of 76 consecutive days, although at the moment it’s showing as 37. I’m pretty upset at that. I’ll tell you why in a moment.
There are two sides to this. The first thing is the fact that the gamification of this, showing the cumulative days is really powerful because it keeps me coming back. It’s because I don’t want to lose the run streak.
And the reason it is showing 37 days and not 76 is because there was a technical break in my run streak . at some point during the meditation (38 days ago), I’m not sure whether I lost the wifi signal or not, but I ended up finishing the meditation but it didn’t register it. And so although I’ve done every single day for last 76 days, it is only showing the last 37 days of the most recent run. I was really, really upset at losing that running streak especially as it wasn’t my fault.
So this is really powerful because it’s a small habit. I meditate for 20 minutes every morning when I get up and when I do, I see my numbers increase. It actually also tells me the number of minutes of meditation and so far I’ve done over 1500 minutes of meditation in the last three months.
Those figures really keep me motivated and wanting to go back to it. And it’s not so much about the accumulation of the number, it’s not wanting to start again . I think the fear of missing out is a big driver for me in doing this – it’s just really powerful.
So this links very neatly into something I’ve talked about on this podcast a number of times, which is Jerry Seinfeld’s don’t break the chain approach. I mentioned this recently and it just came to mind when I saw this again happening on the Headspace app.
Jerry Seinfeld committed to doing one joke a day. And on his calendar he would Mark an X when he did that. His idea was not to break the chain. Headspace does that for me by showing me the numbers and I don’t want to break the chain.
It’s keeping me meditating every single day. I don’t want to lose my running streak. It shows me that I’m consistent and i get this feedback. It’s as much about getting the numbers as It is actually doing the activity. But because I’m getting the numbers, I’m doing the activity and I’m benefiting from it.
It’s a very powerful approach.
So if you are looking to incorporate a new behaviour, then don’t break the chain.
We’re now six days into the new year. If you had a new year’s resolution, did it keep going? If it didn’t, maybe this approach of not breaking the chain would work for you. If it has failed already, it doesn’t mean you can’t start again.
It’s a really important principle. I thought I’d just share that with you because it’s making such an impact with me on the meditation and I’m looking at seeing how can I introduce that to the other habits I’m trying to develop.
So that today’s episode.