Using Gaming Principles to Reach Personal Goals



Every year, between Christmas and New Year’s, I become inspired to set goals for the coming year.

I am notoriously bad at goal-setting, but there is something magical and fresh about January 1st  that fills me with optimism that maybe this year will be different.

Maybe this year if I try something new I could be joining the exclusive 8 percent of people who -according to a commonly cited statistic- actually keep their New Year’s resolutions.

So what’s new in goal setting?  I found 2 things that look promising and complement each other.  First, is expanding SMART goals into SMARTER goals (I’ll explain).  Second, is using “gamification” (game principles) to achieve your personal goals.

Most of us are familiar with the goal setting principals known as S-M-A-R-T which tells us goals should be: Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Timed.

Therefore, a goal “To find another job this year” would look something like:

“By October 2017 (timed), I’ll have a job offer (specific, attainable), with higher pay (measurable) and more opportunity (relevant)”.

Now, how about adding “E” for enjoyable, and “R” for rewarding? This is S-M-A-R-T-E-R.

How can we make a boring SMART goal more enjoyable and rewarding, or SMARTER?

By adding gaming principles.

Gamification is a mindset based on staying motivated by reinforcement.

 Think of your favorite game: a sport, board or online game.

Why do you enjoy it?   Maybe it’s the challenge, the sense of clear purpose, followed by achievement. Maybe is feeling connected with other team members or opponents.  Games provide us feedback, we keep score and achieve levels.  Even when we lose, the feedback is rewarding and motivates us to continue.  That’s why they’re addictive.

So how can we use a gamification while pursuing a goal?

Look for ways to add fun.  For example, what would make dreaded job networking events more enjoyable? Maybe taking a friend along, going out to dinner afterwards.

Keep track, keep score and have frequent rewards. For instance, agree that after your reach a certain number of job applications, a certain number of hours searching online, or get a number of business cards you treat yourself to binging on Netflix or some other guilty pleasure.

You get the idea.   Happy, fun, rewarding goal setting!

Free tracking app

This is a helpful video

Originally published on HR Box blog.



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