Astute readers of my blog might have noticed a change in content in the month of March. Five times a week I was writing short fictions and posting them here, for all of the 10 readers to see and read and enjoy. I wasn’t really doing it for any reason except for experimentation.

Lately I’ve been playing a game online with a few online acquaintances. It’s a website called Health Month, a little site by Buster Benson, the same guy who did 750words which helps people write words every day. The website makes a game out of doing things every day which might improve your health. At the beginning of the month you choose your rules and you’re placed into a level, organized by how many rules you have and how hard they are. Rules are hard or difficult based on how hard you say they are as well as how important they are for you.

Over the last three months I’ve been playing with about 10 rules. As an example my rules for March were:

  • Creative Writing of at least 250 words at least 5 days a week (the fiction posts)
  • Take a multivitamin every day
  • Floss at least 5 days a week
  • Allow 1 soda a week
  • Eat breakfast every day
  • Allow 4 cups of coffee a week
  • Read a book for at least 30 minutes 3 days a week
  • Exercise for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week
  • Drink at least 58 glasses of water a week
  • Meditate for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week
  • Stay under my recommended daily calories every day
  • Do meaningful work at least 3 days a week
  • Study Human Robot Interaction papers at least 5 days a week

(You might notice that last rule is a little specific to me. It’s a custom rule, everyone can put in a custom do or don’t rule.)

Health Month is the gamification of habits, which is why I like it. You start with 10 life points, and you lose a point for every day that you don’t do one of your things - for every one of your things. If I went over calories, didn’t read, and missed meditation, I would lose three life points. People can give you life points if you plead for leniency, and you set rewards and penalties if you end the month with less than 1 life left.

I have really been enjoying playing, there is a group that I am in and we all encourage each other when we get down and also help each other out with healing each other’s life points.

I think that I enjoy Health Month so much because it makes it easy to set up month long experiments, like last month’s fiction writing, as well as focus on things that you should be doing every day like the flossing or limiting my cups of coffee.

I’ve been prone to doing these month long experimentations to myself in the past - for example last year I spent a month recording everything that I did in Field Notes notebook, and I switched up the exercises monthly before that trying to find a good route for walks, or finding a way to entertain myself in the gym. Experimentation is just part of my nature in this way, and it’s one of the ways that I strive to make my life more happy. If I try something for a month and it makes my life happier, then I will keep doing it. If it doesn’t work out, I only did it for a month, and I can say that I’ve really tried it and it wasn’t for me.

This month’s writing rule is to keep updating this blog, this time with meaningful blog posts instead of random fictions from my head. Let’s see if I can keep my points.