Gamify your life? Yup, this is one way we can build good life habits

I am really not a disciplined person. I cannot keep a schedule and I am hopeless with to-do lists. 

But before you write me off, I don’t see it as a bad thing. Not at all. It’s just who I am and it is how I make things work that matters and how it gives me good experience and learning that makes me glad. 

It was about a week ago that I wanted to make sure I that I do the things I have to and need to do. For a start, I wanted to get back to a daily devotion time. I wanted to make sure I take my medication daily, I do miss it sometimes. I want to walk as much as I can. I want to be hydrated and drink enough water on a daily basis...and more. 

In order to do that, I thought it would be a good idea to find an app that will provide me a checklist that renews itself every day. 

I did find one called Process Street but it is a commercial app that cost $12.50 a month and it will burn me RM630 every year. No can do. 

And the other apps recommended that have free versions like Wunderlist, Google Keep, ToDoist and Microsoft To-Do do not automatically renew checklist on a daily basis. 

Until I found this: Habitica. And it is free. 

It’s is a task management app that was developed by Tyler Renelle when he needed help with his own habits having been inspired by two books: The Power of Habit and The Now Habit

It’s a gamified kind of to-do list and since I have already been in work discussions about gamifying stuff at work, I thought it will be cool to gamify my life to begin with. 

So I signed in. 

I am now on my 8th day and it’s really, really, very, very addictive and what more, for an absolutely good cause. I am finally regularly doing stuff I am suppose to do and I am more mindful about how I use my time, which is the only resource that we have no control over. 

How does it work?

It has three kinds of to-do lists. 

1. Dailies: this is to track habits that I want to complete on a daily basis—things I have to do everyday, no excuse. So unless you do the stuff daily, don’t place it here. It feels very satisfying to check them off as I complete them. And I earn coins too! Haha. It’s a game after all right? So read on to find out what I do with my coins. 

2. To-Dos: this is a list of stuff I need to do that I can check them off when completed. I don’t keep any lists for my personal stuff (and I keep forgetting them). I do it for work on a piece of paper. I have no idea why the Outlook To-Do list do not work for me; I have tried it many times. After 8 days with Habitica, it is working very well for me. The only trick is, the moment I think of something I need to do, I have to immediately add it in before I forget. The only challenge is when it happens when I’m driving. 

3. Habits: and finally, a list for the habits I want to inculcate in my life. Unlike the Dailies which I can only click once a day or the To-Dos that disappears when I click it, items here stay here all the time. And you can click it as many times in a day as you perform them. For example, I want to drink 2 liters of water a day and I break it into smaller chunks of 500ml per time. So in a day, it will be desirable for me to click it 4 times. There are bad habits to undo in my life too. For example, if I were to take any caffeinated drinks after 2pm, it’ll be a minus and I’d lose coins. I haven’t had any coffee or Coke after 2pm and I’ve been sleeping quite well over the past 8 days. Awesome!

Okay, what are these coins about? It’s not like I can use them in real life right? But that’s the beauty of gamification in Habitica. You actually can!

You would have read or seen in many places that come with the advice that we need to earn the things we want to enjoy in our lives. The things we want to buy, TV and movies we want to watch. With that then, you can allocate the number of coins to “buy” the right to do them. 

For example, if you want to eat some comfort food, you can allocate a cost of 60 coins to have a slice of brownie. My bad habit is that I love Korean dramas too much and so this is perfect. I can finally have a kind of a measure of how much I need to do in order to earn the right to watch TV. 

You’d notice that there are these other stuff that cost some coins. These are the equipment and clothes you can buy for your Avatar and there are games in Habitica you can play with the coins earned. But I am not into those stuff. TV and movies are what I like and maybe I’d add comfort food in the list too. (Yum...bacon baked brownies...)

If you do check it out, let you know what you think. You could also use it to get your kids to do some chores and collect enough coins to claim some rewards from you. 

Have fun! Gamify your life!


How big is your God?

I was saying that I had a really good week and that it all began when I decided to fast TV for one week. 

Let me admit that I have recently gotten addicted to Korean dramas real bad though that’s another story for another day. It’s just that I have been spending so much time on them that I knew that if I didn’t do anything about it, I’d soon be buried in them with no chance of reprieve. 

Hence the 1-week fast, which began 8 days ago on Saturday. I wanted to read and started checking out on my Kindle what I have bought, and this stood out. 

Not God Enough: Why Your Small God Leads to Big Problems
by JD Greear

This is a gem of a book. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to be serious about God. 

The book began with a quotation by Evelyn Underhill, “A god small enough to be understood is not big enough to be worshipped.” And that practically summed it all up. 

Greear says that “those who understand their forgiveness tremble more, not less, in God’s presence.” 

I can see that we now live in a world where we think we are relatively quite good. We go to church and we listen to the Gospel preached and we go through the confession prayer, but we don’t really feel or acknowledge very much our depravity. We know it, but we don’t feel it. 

We fail to see how big and holy God is and, how small and bad we are in comparison.

I like this section where he tries to help us understand just how bigger than big God is. 

He says, “We prefer a God who is small and domesticated, who thinks like we think, likes what we like, and whom we can manage, predict, and control. We only have to glance upwards at the night sky to see how ridiculous that is.”

He used the universe to explain how distorted our view is of God. Do you know the size of the universe? To cut it short, we can only see 9,096 stars with the naked eye and that is only about 1/100,000,000,000,000,000,000 of what’s actually out there. Scientists have estimated the number of stars to be about 3 septillion and the number is constantly expanding. That’s a three with 24 zeros after it. 

Greear then makes it even clearer. He says, one million seconds ago takes us back about 11 days. A billion seconds ago takes us back 31 years and eight months. A trillion seconds? It will brings us to 29,672 BC! He doesn’t even continue on to septillion and these are in seconds!

Imagine that about the universe and know what? God measures off the heavens with his fingers! (Isaiah 40:12)

He is more than huge. And we are but a tiny drop of a septillion. And we think we are on the same playing field. Think again.

So the next time we think we so great, remember he is bigger than big. 

How about the fact that we always think we are not so bad, that we are pretty good?

Greear says it well: suppose you are getting a blood transfusion and you find out that 1 percent of it was contaminated with HIV. Would it help if the nurse said, “Don’t worry; it’s only 1 percent”? “No!” we’d shout back, “There is no such think as only 1 percent! One speck contaminates the whole lot.”

We are that one speck and we cannot survive the holiness of God. 

I was soon reading another book about the Islamic Sharia law. To the Muslims, they are taught to see themselves as the most perfect people, the perfect race. And the writer said this one thing that really strikes me. 

When she heard Christian pastors saying “We are all sinners”, she said that it was “one of the most comforting, liberating, uniting, and humbling expressions” she has heard. 

I never had the concept that being called a sinner is most comforting and liberating but the contrary. 

But she has a point. If we think we are so good and perfect, then living a life in this broken world will bring us into a reality we will never survive in. Being called a sinnner and being forgiven by God would then be the most comforting and liberating thing of all. 

Our God is bigger than big. We are but a speck of a septillion and a sinful bad speck at that and yet he loves us to death on a cross. 

How can we even understand that. Find him out and find out why. 


I am back!

Wow. It has been a six and a half month hiatus since I last posted anything here. Am I back?


It has been an awesome week for me and with that I thought it’s timely for me to revive my blog. Well, I haven’t been away for that long, thankfully and isn’t it a good time to be back? 

Like I said it has been a really good week. It all began with this:

I have been so addicted to the TV that I wasn’t thinking straight and the stack of books that I wanted to read keeps on growing. 

So I decided to fast TV for one week. 

The week has ended yesterday but it has been such a good week that I haven’t broken the fast yet. And so many good things have happened that there is so much to share. 

So with that, I am back!