I’m convinced that being an adult is just constant maintenance and taxes. Am I wrong? I wake up every day and through the day I am plagued with thoughts such as, “Why does my knee hurt, my phone says I walked less than 50 steps today.” and “I really hope I did my taxes right last year because it would be such a bummer to go to prison for incorrect taxes.” Queue the full-length feature film that’s been sitting patiently in the dark recesses of my mind with scenes of my irrational fear of being arrested for tax evasion because I mixed up two digits. As I am dissociating from reality and paralyzed with a constant fear of either deteriorating knee cartilage or tax evasion arrest, I am not drinking water and just asking for a fainting spell.
I can recite the alphabet backwards and give you comprehensive reasoning as to why Star Wars: Episode 3 – Revenge of the Sith is one of my top 3 favorite Star Wars movies (and arguably top 3 in general), but I can’t, for the life of me, consistently drink 8 glasses of water every day. I’ve become pretty tired and annoyed of getting dehydration headaches and the dryness I frequently get in my mouth now (opposed to the periodic dryness) is enough cause to create some sort of system to fix this problem.
I’m not sure if I am part of the minority or majority here, but I am highly motivated by that small rush of dopamine you get when you finish small tasks, especially when you check it off on a list. I’ve recently implemented “gamifying” into my life after giving it up a few years ago. Desperate times calls for desperately revisiting life organization systems that you acknowledge only didn’t work because of your mental health (not because they are flawed). If you aren’t familiar with how to gamify your life, it’s simple and works exactly as it sounds. You “play” your life as if it were a game. Let me be very clear in that this way of living doesn’t excuse making poor decisions that negatively affect other people and doesn’t mean you’ll respawn or 1UP if – well, you know. Just covering the basics because you just never know who will take this and run with all gas and no brakes.
Anyway, it’s a very simple quest/reward situation. You are an avatar in the game and you choose a “quest” to embark on. Once you complete that quest, you are given a reward. Now, everyone is motivated by different things. You can reward yourself with special food, more time to indulge in entertainment, clothes that you have been eyeing, or if you’re like me, just plain ol’ dopamine to keep the brain AOK. You can even set different tiers for the rewards, so more difficult quests are granted larger, more grand rewards.
The way I track my quests is through an app called Productive. There’s a gamify app called Habitica, which is super cute and really takes the game aspect to a whole new level, but the intricacies and façade of an actual game didn’t exactly work for me. The app I mentioned before, Productive, is very cut and dry. I set my tasks, set a frequency, and I check it off throughout the day as I get them done. I used to complete one task and then immediately check that task off the list, but now I find greater joy in checking things off in lumps. Nothing feels better than marking 4 glasses of water down the hatch in one go versus just one sad glass. For me, 2021 is a chance to regain some sort of control over my life and while it sounds elementary, I’m leveling up by staying hydrated.