Archive | April, 2011

Acheiving Personal Goals – Video Game Style

The majority of us are easily distracted from our personal goals. We don’t see immediate value, so we stop achieving them.

We just don’t see the benefit until it’s staring at us in the face!

You’ll be glad to know that I’ve found a cheat code to achieving life goals. Read on if you’re ready to change your life for the better!

The Secret? The Same Way Video Games Keep You Hooked

Remember the last time you completed a level in a video game? Satisfying, isn’t it?

Can we apply the same mentality to personal goals? Yes!

I’ve developed a technique inspired from video games. Let me show you how it works:

The Principle

Our goals get forgotten about because the value is too far to keep us motivated. Video games know excellent techniques to keep you playing to the very last level.

Here are the primary ones:

  • Visual progress bar
  • Incremental rewards
  • Specific & achievable goals

I’m going to introduce you to a goal achieving strategy that uses all 3 of these elements.

1. The Mighty Progress Bar

When you’re doing the right thing, video games let you know right away. Most games use a progress bar to do this.

When you can’t see progress being done, your brain sees the goal as either being 0% done, or 100% done. We’re all wired this way.

However, progress is always incremental! And making progress obvious is the key to giving yourself immediate feedback. This is why progress bars are so effective.

Here’s a basic progress bar I currently use for one of my goals:

Step 1 in Setting Goals like a Video Game

2. The Incremental Reward System

Visually showing goals being achieved is motivating, but not as much as obvious rewards.

The brain also needs to be constantly reminded of it’s purpose. That’s why good game designers use rewards to keep players motivated.

I’ve added 3 incrementing rewards. Here’s my updated progress bar:

Step 2 in Setting Goals like a Video Game

Your rewards don’t need to be excessive, but they need to be convincing.

Ideally, these rewards compliment the effect of achieving the goal. IE: the mountain bike is enjoyed more fully in a fit & exercised body.

Take that, evasive mind!

3. The S.M.A.R.T Goal

S.M.A.R.T is an acronym for the most important characteristics a goal must possess in order to maximize it’s power:

S pecific
M easurable
A cheivable
R ealistic
T ime sensitive

Video games are no fools when it comes to defining goals. If they were, the players would quickly get confused, discouraged, or annoyed, and leave!

Isn’t that what often happens to personal goals?

Don’t fall for it. Be smart! (pun intended)

Instructions

Use this tool wisely – You may actually get what you wish for!

1. Choose 2 Goals to Begin

By choosing too many, you risk overwhelming yourself. Oh, and remember to make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T!

2. Draw a Huge & Fancy Progress Bar on a Big Paper, or Whiteboard

Notice that I didn’t mention using a computer/PDA? That’s because our brains have an extremely short attention span when it comes to computers/gadgets.

Trust me. Offline is better for our purpose.

3. Fill in your goal, units of increment, and progressive rewards

Think long & hard about your rewards. Make sure you will deliver the promise.

4. Display the bar where you’re sure to notice it everyday.

The office or bedroom is often a good idea.

5. Make marking down progress a daily ritual

When you get a part done, mark it as soon as you can.

6. Always deliver your promised reward

Very important! If you skimp out at that glorious moment, you risk losing motivation & momentum.

In Closing

Please comment out your thoughts & feedback. I really wants this strategy to work for well for me as for everybody else reading this article.

If I can get enough positive feedback, I will post a second part to cover more information & scenarios.

Cheers