Ding! M’s New Year Achievemen- Er, Resolutions

achievement WoW achievement xbox

Like many people, I usually have come up with noble and grandiose resolutions for the New Year – lose weight, get in shape, write a book, find a boy/girlfriend, the usual. And like many people, these resolutions last approximately four days before I throw them out the window to make room for more pie and video games.

So this year, I’m trying things a bit different and taking a page from Xbox and World of Warcraft. Instead of New Year’s resolutions, I’ve created a list of New Year Achievements, a callback to those cute little messages that pop up whenever you kill 100 guards or get to level 20 or what have you. Using things like achievements in real life is called “gamification,” and while it gets a lot of criticism, it does have its benefits, such as setting out clear goals and giving incentive, no matter how minor, to complete them. And hey, the way I figure it, it’s worth a shot, right?

If, like me, you struggle with resolutions, why not set yourself a list of “achievements” to go for? Here are some guidelines I followed for turning daunting life goals into addictive and potentially fun objectives to complete in the game of life.

-          KEEP IT SMALL! While it may seem ridiculous to have resolutions like, “go on one date” or “GM one roleplaying session,” by keeping them easy to reach, you’re setting yourself up for success rather than failure. Checklists are much nicer when they have tons of stuff checked off! And remember, there’s nothing stopping you from building those resolutions and extending them; if you got the “Went on a date!” achievement, why not try the, “Third Date’s the Charm!” achievement?

-          Keep it positive. While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with resolutions like, “don’t buy so much geeky merchandise” or “don’t eat so much junk food,” I personally find affirmative objectives like “budget $20 for merchandise a month” or “have a salad for dinner once a week” to be a bit more motivational and inspiring.

-          Keep it specific. This is, I think, part of the problem with a lot of New Year resolutions; they’re so large and involved that it’s difficult to know where to start, where to end, etc. Try to use concrete numbers when possible. Think of a video game achievement… it’s like, “Head shot 1000 enemy soldiers,” except the head shots are writing and the enemy soldiers are words in your novel. Some resolutions will be open-ended, but try to balance them out with small, specific achievement-style goals as well.

-          Be careful with ongoing resolutions and avoid too many “do X every day” achievements. Reason being? It’s too easy to miss a day or week or whatever, and then your resolution is screwed for the rest of the year. Remember, the idea is to make resolutions that can be kept! If possible, try to aim for more collective goals, like, “spend X hours in the gym this month” or shorter term objectives that can be retried if failed, like “give up Coke for ten consecutive days.”

-          If you think you need incentive, reward yourself! The reason I like World of Warcraft’s achievements better than Xbox is that, for certain achievements, you can gain fun things like mounts, pets, and titles; it really gets you motivated! Make each achievement worth 10 points and set rewards at 100, 200, etc, and/or give rewards for “meta” achievements like completing all your gym-related resolutions. If you go the reward route, try to pick something you wouldn’t normally do or buy (e.g. don’t make a video game your reward if you buy lots of games anyway!) and keep them as special as you feel comfortable splurging on.

-          Have some fun resolutions in there too along with all the noble, self-improving stuff. Come on, we all have backlogs of shows to watch, games to play, etc. Make a few resolutions to finally see what the big deal is about Firefly, or to work through your backlog of Assassin’s Creed games.

-           If you really want to devote yourself to your New Year’s Achievements, go the whole hog and really embrace the achievement model. Make the achievements entertaining; give them stupid punny titles, point values, the works . There are websites which let you create your own World of Warcraft and Xbox achievements; you could make yours, print each out, then put them on the fridge as you achieve them. Or check out some of the existing apps such as Booyah Society and RLA Maker  to set up these achievements on your iPhone and check them off as you complete them.

 

Want some examples, or just want to know what my resolutions are this year? Then here are some of my New Year Reso-Achieve-lution-ments for 2013, each worth 10 points unless otherwise specified.

Writing – The unfortunate truth about being a writer is that people expect you to write instead of sit on your butt and talk wistfully of your super awesome plotlines. I love to write, but I suck at actually doing it, so here are my writing resolutions for the year.

  • “Words’ Worth” – Write at least 20,000 words a month on creative projects (novels, short stories, screenplays, etc)
  • “You Didn’t Think This Would Be Easy, Did You?” – Finish the first draft of my fantasy romance novel
    • “For a Second There…” – Edit and complete the second draft (worth 30 points) (sub achievement for subsequent drafts)
    • “Yeah, I Kinda Did.” – Get novel published (self or traditional) (worth 100 points and a pony)
  • “Even Geeks Spawn” – Write, revise and complete manuscript for a book for toddlers (in honor of my friends and their adorable babies)
    • “2 B R not 2 B” – Write, revise, and complete a toddler version of a classic literature title (Pride and Prejudice, Othello, Hamlet, etc)

Game Design – Same thing as writing. Thanks to a host of new game creation tools, it’s easier than ever to make a game without any knowledge of programming, art, audio or anything more complicated than writing. Time to stop making excuses, self, and get to it.

  • “Shoot on Site” – Update my gaming portfolio website
    • “Blogging Away” – Create and maintain a geek blog on the website (update once a week)
  • “My Bookcases are Really Smart” – Read at least one game design/game writing textbook currently gathering dust on my shelves.
  • “So Easy A Kid Could Do It. Right?” – Complete the tutorial (or otherwise learn to general satisfaction) for one of the following game creation engines / modding tools:
  • ChoiceScript
  • Neverwinter Nights mod tool
  • Twine
  • GameSalad
  • Stencyl
  • GameMaker
  • StoryNexus
  • RPGMaker
  • Ren’Py (advanced tutorials)
  • “o god how did this get here am not good with computers” – Learn all of the above game engines (50 points).
  • “What Is This Planning Thing You Speak Of?” – Complete at least one game design document
  •  “I R GAME MAKER LADY” – Create and COMPLETE one game fit for human consumption (i.e. not just testing an engine) (Continuing achievements for two, three, four games)

Weight/Fitness – I admit it, I’m a rather, ah, rounded couch potato. And while part of me is all about the loving myself as I am and inner beauty and all that wonderful stuff, the other part is a bit sick of trying to find pants that fit and getting winded walking up a hill.

  • “Every Little Bit…” – Take off ten pounds before end of the year
    • “Okay, Another Little Bit.” – Take off twenty. (continue for 30, 40, 50)
    • “Put that Bit Back, Young Lady.” – Keep the weight off until end of year.
  • “Zombies. Why Did It Have to Be Zombies?” – Complete the storyline of Zombies, Run!
  • “Let the Power of Moe Compel You!” – Complete “Burn Your Fat With Me!”
  • “It’s Over Two Hundred!” – Complete the 200 Situps routine (or 100 pushups, squats, etc)
    • “It’s Over Five Thousand!” – Complete a Couch to 5K program
    • “It’s Over Nine Thousand!” – Complete all of the above mentioned routines
  • “They Call It Coke for a Reason” – Go one month without pop

Organization –  I have 6k unread emails in my inbox. Well… at least they’re not all important, right?

  • “Does Opening Microsft Excel Count?” – Create a budget / record of expenses
  • “Large Pile Does Not Equal Sorting” – Spend one day a month sorting and separating my bills
  • “Yes, I Keep Pride and Prejudice Next to Prince of Persia” – Sort my bookcases
  • “Inbox: Shoot me now” – Keep my unread email to less than 500 for more than three months
    • “Oh, Wait, I Have to Answer, Don’t I?” – Spend one hour a week replying to email / dealing with backlog

Social/Romance – While I’m happy to have wonderful friends in my life, it’s always worth meeting new people. Also, it sort of seems weird to write for a website that deals with geek dating and not, you know, date at all…

  • “Sent a Friend Request” – Make one new friend/acquaintance.
  • “Remember Me?” – Email at least one old friend/acquaintance/contact a month.
  • “FOREVER ALONE” – Go on at least one date this year (subsequent achievements for two, three, four…)
    • “Could be the Start of Something” – Go on two dates or more with one person
  • “Nepotism is great!” – Hire E to help me craft an awesome online dating profile.

Geek Backlog – These are my fun resolutions, the ones that will hopefully get me approaching my geekhood more maturely, and by “more maturely,” I mean actually poking my head up from fanfics and World of Warcraft on occasion to check out some of the stuff I’ve been putting off for ages.

  • “QA Doesn’t Count” – Complete at least one playthrough of Mass Effect 3
  • “Resquat in pescatore” – Complete Assassin’s Creed Revelations before buying ACIII
  • “Steamy Romance” – Complete or play at least five “new” games off my Steam list
  • “Alt-o-holic” – Get at least one other alt to level 90 in World of Warcraft
  • “Winter is Coming” – Finish at least one season of Game of Thrones AND read the first book.
  • “Oh Yeah, I’m the Anime Gal, Right?” – Complete at least one 26 episode anime series
    • “Still not WoWed” – Watch Sword Art Online
    • “Tsuki ni kawatte” – Watch reboot of Sailor Moon
    • “BioWhere? On my Couch” – Watch the anime for Dragon Age AND Mass Effect
  • “Back in the Saddle” – GM at least one roleplaying session
    • “Saddle Sores” – GM an entire campaign

 

What are your resolutions for the new year? Are you going for more ambitious, overarching objectives, or are you going for smaller, bite-sized goals? Any thoughts on doing resolutions the XBox Achievement way?

Like many people, I usually have come up with noble and grandiose resolutions for the New Year – lose weight, get in shape, write a book, find a boy/girlfriend, the usual. And like many people, these resolutions last approximately four days before I throw them out the window to make room for more pie and video games.

So this year, I’m trying things a bit different and taking a page from Xbox and World of Warcraft. Instead of New Year’s resolutions, I’ve created a list of New Year Achievements, a callback to those cute little messages that pop up whenever you kill 100 guards or get to level 20 or what have you. Using things like achievements in real life is called “gamification,” and while it gets a lot of criticism, it does have its benefits, such as setting out clear goals and giving incentive, no matter how minor, to complete them. And hey, the way I figure it, it’s worth a shot, right?

If, like me, you struggle with resolutions, why not set yourself a list of “achievements” to go for? Here are some guidelines I followed for turning daunting life goals into addictive and potentially fun objectives to complete in the game of life.

-          KEEP IT SMALL! While it may seem ridiculous to have resolutions like, “go on one date” or “GM one roleplaying session,” by keeping them easy to reach, you’re setting yourself up for success rather than failure. Checklists are much nicer when they have tons of stuff checked off! And remember, there’s nothing stopping you from building those resolutions and extending them; if you got the “Went on a date!” achievement, why not try the, “Third Date’s the Charm!” achievement?

-          Keep it positive. While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with resolutions like, “don’t buy so much geeky merchandise” or “don’t eat so much junk food,” I personally find affirmative objectives like “budget $20 for merchandise a month” or “have a salad for dinner once a week” to be a bit more motivational and inspiring.

-          Keep it specific. This is, I think, part of the problem with a lot of New Year resolutions; they’re so large and involved that it’s difficult to know where to start, where to end, etc. Try to use concrete numbers when possible. Think of a video game achievement… it’s like, “Head shot 1000 enemy soldiers,” except the head shots are writing and the enemy soldiers are words in your novel. Some resolutions will be open-ended, but try to balance them out with small, specific achievement-style goals as well.

-          Be careful with ongoing resolutions and avoid too many “do X every day” achievements. Reason being? It’s too easy to miss a day or week or whatever, and then your resolution is screwed for the rest of the year. Remember, the idea is to make resolutions that can be kept! If possible, try to aim for more collective goals, like, “spend X hours in the gym this month” or shorter term objectives that can be retried if failed, like “give up Coke for ten consecutive days.”

-          If you think you need incentive, reward yourself! The reason I like World of Warcraft’s achievements better than Xbox is that, for certain achievements, you can gain fun things like mounts, pets, and titles; it really gets you motivated! Make each achievement worth 10 points and set rewards at 100, 200, etc, and/or give rewards for “meta” achievements like completing all your gym-related resolutions. If you go the reward route, try to pick something you wouldn’t normally do or buy (e.g. don’t make a video game your reward if you buy lots of games anyway!) and keep them as special as you feel comfortable splurging on.

-          Have some fun resolutions in there too along with all the noble, self-improving stuff. Come on, we all have backlogs of shows to watch, games to play, etc. Make a few resolutions to finally see what the big deal is about Firefly, or to work through your backlog of Assassin’s Creed games.

-           If you really want to devote yourself to your New Year’s Achievements, go the whole hog and really embrace the achievement model. Make the achievements entertaining; give them stupid punny titles, point values, the works . There are websites which let you create your own World of Warcraft and Xbox achievements; you could make yours, print each out, then put them on the fridge as you achieve them. Or check out some of the existing apps such as Booyah Society and RLA Maker  to set up these achievements on your iPhone and check them off as you complete them.

 

Want some examples, or just want to know what my resolutions are this year? Then here are some of my New Year Reso-Achieve-lution-ments for 2013, each worth 10 points unless otherwise specified.

Writing – The unfortunate truth about being a writer is that people expect you to write instead of sit on your butt and talk wistfully of your super awesome plotlines. I love to write, but I suck at actually doing it, so here are my writing resolutions for the year.

  • “Words’ Worth” – Write at least 20,000 words a month on creative projects (novels, short stories, screenplays, etc)
  • “You Didn’t Think This Would Be Easy, Did You?” – Finish the first draft of my fantasy romance novel
    • “For a Second There…” – Edit and complete the second draft (worth 30 points) (sub achievement for subsequent drafts)
    • “Yeah, I Kinda Did.” – Get novel published (self or traditional) (worth 100 points and a pony)
  • “Even Geeks Spawn” – Write, revise and complete manuscript for a book for toddlers (in honor of my friends and their adorable babies)
    • “2 B R not 2 B” – Write, revise, and complete a toddler version of a classic literature title (Pride and Prejudice, Othello, Hamlet, etc)


Game Design – Same thing as writing. Thanks to a host of new game creation tools, it’s easier than ever to make a game without any knowledge of programming, art, audio or anything more complicated than writing. Time to stop making excuses, self, and get to it.

  • “Shoot on Site” – Update my gaming portfolio website
    • “Blogging Away” – Create and maintain a geek blog on the website (update once a week)
  • “My Bookcases are Really Smart” – Read at least one game design/game writing textbook currently gathering dust on my shelves.
  • “So Easy A Kid Could Do It. Right?” – Complete the tutorial (or otherwise learn to general satisfaction) for one of the following game creation engines / modding tools:

ChoiceScript               Neverwinter Nights mod tool                     Twine   

GameSalad                Stencyl                                                                 GameMaker

StoryNexus                                RPGMaker                                                          Ren’Py (advanced tutorials)

  • “o god how did this get here am not good with computers” – Learn all of the above game engines (50 points).
  • “What Is This Planning Thing You Speak Of?” – Complete at least one game design document
  •  “I R GAME MAKER LADY” – Create and COMPLETE one game fit for human consumption (i.e. not just testing an engine) (Continuing achievements for two, three, four games)

Weight/Fitness – I admit it, I’m a very fat couch potato. And while part of me is all about the loving myself as I am and inner beauty and all that wonderful stuff, the other part is a bit sick of trying to find pants that fit and getting winded walking up a hill.

  • “Every Little Bit…” – Take off ten pounds before end of the year
    • “Okay, Another Little Bit.” – Take off twenty. (continue for 30, 40, 50)
    • “Put that Bit Back, Young Lady.” – Keep the weight off until end of year.
  • “Zombies. Why Did It Have to Be Zombies?” – Complete the storyline of Zombies, Run!
  • “Let the Power of Moe Compel You!” – Complete “Burn Your Fat With Me!”
  • “It’s Over Two Hundred!” – Complete the 200 Situps routine (or 100 pushups, squats, etc)
    • “It’s Over Five Thousand!” – Complete a Couch to 5K program
    • “It’s Over Nine Thousand!” – Complete all of the above mentioned routines
  • “They Call It Coke for a Reason” – Go one month without pop


Organization – I am probably the least organized person I know, and it constantly amazes me I have not been arrested or lost something really valuable yet. Also, I have 6k unread emails in my inbox. Well… at least they’re not all important, right?

  • “Does Opening Microsft Excel Count?” – Create a budget / record of expenses
  • “Large Pile Does Not Equal Sorting” – Spend one day a month sorting and separating my bills
  • “Yes, I Keep Pride and Prejudice Next to Prince of Persia” – Sort my bookcases
  • “Inbox: Shoot me now” – Keep my unread email to less than 500 for more than three months
    • “Oh, Wait, I Have to Answer, Don’t I?” – Spend one hour a week replying to email / dealing with backlog

Social/Romance – While I’m happy to have wonderful friends in my life, it’s always worth meeting new people. Also, it sort of seems weird to write for a website that deals with geek dating and not, you know, date at all…

  • “Sent a Friend Request” – Make one new friend/acquaintance.
  • “Remember Me?” – Email at least one old friend/acquaintance/contact a month.
  • “FOREVER ALONE” – Go on at least one date this year (subsequent achievements for two, three, four…)
    • “Could be the Start of Something” – Go on two dates or more with one person
  • “Nepotism is great!” – Hire E to help me craft an awesome online dating profile.


Geek Backlog – These are my fun resolutions, the ones that will hopefully get me approaching my geekhood more maturely, and by “more maturely,” I mean actually poking my head up from fanfics and World of Warcraft on occasion to check out some of the stuff I’ve been putting off for ages.

  • “QA Doesn’t Count” – Complete at least one playthrough of Mass Effect 3
  • “Resquat in pescatore” – Complete Assassin’s Creed Revelations before buying ACIII
  • “Steamy Romance” – Complete or play at least five “new” games off my Steam list
  • “Alt-o-holic” – Get at least one other alt to level 90 in World of Warcraft
  • “Winter is Coming” – Finish at least one season of Game of Thrones AND read the first book.
  • “Oh Yeah, I’m the Anime Gal, Right?” – Complete at least one 26 episode anime series
    • “Still not WoWed” – Watch Sword Art Online
    • “Tsuki ni kawatte” – Watch reboot of Sailor Moon
    • “BioWhere? On my Couch” – Watch the anime for Dragon Age AND Mass Effect
  • “Back in the Saddle” – GM at least one roleplaying session
    • “Saddle Sores” – GM an entire campaign

 

What are your resolutions for the new year? Are you going for more ambitious, overarching objectives, or are you going for smaller, bite-sized goals

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