“5 more minutes!” Have you ever wished real life was more like a video game? You could level up, go on exciting quests, and be able to defeat great enemies. Video games are fun, full of adventure, and rather than having to force yourself to play them, you have to force yourself to get off.
Life isn’t like a video game—but Habitica wants to make it a little bit closer. They tap into the fun of video games, with all the different kinds of reinforcement that they include, to help you complete your goals and get your life on track.
Let’s take a closer and see if it’s worth all the hype in this review of Habitica.
What Is Habitica?
Habitica is a “video game to help you improve real-life habits”. Built from a Kickstarter in 2013, it serves as an open-source RPG, where you take your little pixel-art character on adventures as you become more productive. It makes completing tasks more fun by turning them into little monsters for your hero to conquer. As you make progress, so too does your hero—but if you slip up, your character will suffer!
With over 4 million players, Habitica uses in-game rewards and punishment to motivate users to complete their task. And it’s not just for avid video-game streamers—Habitica reports that over 40% of their users don’t even consider themselves gamers! Because it is open-source, it is run mostly by volunteers, and get new updates, quests, and features every year.
How Does Habitica Work?
Habitica’s basic premise is simple: enter your tasks, and as you mark them as complete, you can level up your character by earning experience and gold. Fail your tasks, and your character will take a hit to their health.
One of the great features of Habitica is how customizable the tasks can be. To enter a task, hit the green “create” button, and you’re ready to go. There are three different kinds. To Do’s are tasks that only need to be done once, or rarely. You can customize the due date on these, as well as create checklists. As you complete these, you’ll earn points and gold.
Then there is the Dailies—task you do every day, or on particular dates. You can customize these even to “every three days,” and you’ll receive a pop up every day asking about it. Complete these, and you’ll also earn point—but if you don’t complete them, your character will take a hit. Failure to complete a Daily will hurt your hero’s health bar.
Then there are habits—good or bad ones, that you are trying either to make or break. As you mark off these habits, you’ll either gain points (for positive ones) or lose health (for negative ones).
Habitica also makes it easy to see which tasks need the most attention with their color-coding system. All tasks start out as a neutral yellow—the more frequently you complete them, the bluer they turn. If you miss some habits, or are behind on their due dates, they will turn red. This helps you to complete the tasks that need your attention the most.
You gain points by completing tasks—but just like any good video game, there’s many things to do with those points. You can buy equipment, ones that will improve your “stats,” or ones that simply make your avatar look cool (there is a certain amount of prestige that comes from wearing the “absurd party hat” after all).
You can also receive pets to hatch, care for, feed, and eventually ride. Your points also allow you to level up, which restores your health completely, and gives you access to special quests.
One of Habitica’s strengths is how it utilize social bonds to motivate you. Collaborative quests join you with a “party” of other users, and together you go on a quest to slay a monster. This is a “super-accountability” mode, for though the success of every member on their individual tasks deals damage to the monster, if you begin to slack off and not complete your tasks—your whole party will suffer damage. This is a great way to motivate you—after all, you don’t want to let down your team!
You can also compete in challenges against other users, and earn special prizes if you win.
The Tavern is another aspect of Habitica’s social element. Here’s you can access the Tavern chat. Though this isn’t an instant messaging system, and you have to refresh to see the newest message, it does allow you to connect with other users. Guilds are for talking about specific topics, serving almost like threads.
The Tavern also serves another purpose—to allow you to rest from Daily’s. You take damage every time you don’t complete your Daily tasks—but what if it’s the holidays, or you’re on vacation, so there’s no need for you to take out the trash? Simply go into the Tavern rest, and it will put those tasks on pause.
As you play Habitica, the game keeps expanding for you. Once you reach level 10, you can join one of four guilds—warrior, Mage, Healer, or Rogue—which offers you different advantages in the Strength,
From there, the game keeps expanding, with new quests, challenges, and groups for you to join. On occasion, there are even World Bosses, that all players work against to fight.
You can take Habitica with you wherever you go—the app works on both Android and iOS systems, and you can access it from the web as well.
How Can I Make The Most Of Habitica?
Habitica can be a great tool—but there’s a few ways to make the most of it. First is to not be too ambitious. Daily tasks are great reminders—but they will drain your avatar’s health if you don’t complete them. So don’t attempt to add too many all at one time! This matches up with real-life habit training—as studies have shown that if you try to start too many habits at once, you’ll end up not completing any. After all, how many times have you created 20 New Year’s resolutions, only to not have kept a single one by the end of January? By starting with just a few habits at a time, you’ll make them stick.
Furthermore, take advantage of the social aspect of Habitica. We as humans are social creatures, and our brains are wired to avoid failing others. So use this with the people around you. Challenge your family, your friends, your coworkers—download Habitica together, and complete a quest together. This allows you to see results as you go, and get a boost of extra motivation!
Is Habitica Cheap?
Is Habitica worth the price? The answer is yes—especially because it is free! It’s free to download and use the app, and you can be extremely successful without ever paying a cent.
Habitica does offer subscriptions, for people who want to support the site, and there are special perks for these subscribers. For $5 a month, or $48 a year, you get access to monthly mystery prizes, the ability to buy gems with gold, longer task histories to see you progress, and access to exclusive items—like a purple jackalope pet. But you don’t need to pay to use the site—it’s just if you want to support the site and get a few extra perks.
Use fun to your advantage—and make your life an adventure. Though Habitica may be less “professional” and have less tracking than other time management and productivity apps, like Todoist or OmniFocus, that doesn’t make it any less powerful. It’s is free, it’s charming, and it’s fun—what better way to bring new habits into your life? Rather than forcing yourself to learn piano, work out, or complete that assignment, you can now enjoy it. Its use of both positive, negative, predictive, and random reinforcement is designed to make building good habits addictive—and helps you to improve your real life in the process.