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By Pattie Beaven

I’ve become engrossed in a book very similar to my concept of “Zookeeper’s Guide to Fitness”.  I thought reading a book with the same ideas as my own would cave my motivation, as I feared someone beat me to the punch, but actually, I feel quite the opposite.   I am motivated and stoked to share another program with just a few subtle differences, to reinforce the first one.  They are on the right track, and I love what they are doing with fitness and achieving goals.  I am bringing more to the table.

The book I’m reading is Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb. Steve is the founder of nerdfitness.com, and I am fangirling his methods and philosophies so hard!  Basically, he suggests turning your ambitions and fitness goals into a real life video game.  Go on quests to bring you closer to your dreams, and even reward yourself along the way.

What really woke me up, so to speak, was Steve’s activity of listing all our quests out in different categories- Physical (fitness), Work (career), Fun (just for play type quests), Mental (learning), Adventure (travel and well, adventure), Master, Epic, Legacy, Courage (face your fears quests) Gratitude (Pay it Forward type quests), Freedom (I guessed financial freedom was the theme).  Not sure the difference between Master, Epic, and Legacy quests, but they were categories to start thinking of what ideas have been on my Bucket Lists, on my Pipe Dreams lists, and my Aspirations-Hopes and Dreams lists.  And really pumped me to work on achieving these hopes and aspirations.

There is always some issue with working someone else’s program.  I see it when I hold workshops on Fitness Through Operant Conditioning and people don’t completely understand my idea of breaking habits down into small, achievable steps.  So it isn’t surprising that as excited and motivated I was by Nerd Fitness, I ended up disappointed in how the online program set up for subscribers fell short for me.  There are lists of quests to complete, and even points to award yourself (I love this idea, I’ll share more in a minute), but most of the quests weren’t what I want or need to focus on.  There is nothing wrong with having no conservation focused quests on a site dedicated to geeky fandom video game playing enthusiasts, but it is what I was looking for.

But Steve is totally onto something with his point system, and being focused on positive reinforcement, I knew I could work with this.  I just needed to make it my own. How I accomplished that was completely serendipitous.

I have been tracking my days for my new writing habit.  I use the free iPhone app called “Strides” which doesn’t let me track my word count each day, but I log in and mark off when I’ve achieved my minimum of 250 words each and every day.  I started this to really focus on developing a habit of writing, something, anything, once a day.  250 words isn’t much.  It’s not supposed to be a lot.  I have set myself up right now for success.  250 words is so easy, I can’t fail to achieve it each and every day.  Once the writing has really set itself as a strong habit, my goal is to gradually start increasing the minimum word count.

I have a lot of side projects going on besides my fitness book.  I’m working on an Exercise Card deck with animal-themed movements.  I am also putting together a great companion book to Zookeeper’s Guide to Fitness called “Conservation Fitness Jump-Start” (it’s a working title).  This guide will give readers a 30-day meal plan, recipes, and workouts.  It shares information about nutrition, fitness, and conservation, but in a way that guides readers to try it themselves.  I’m also going to be working on getting quality photos and videos of me performing exercises and workouts for subscribers to my website, and those who purchase my meal plan and exercise cards.  Some of these projects are difficult to determine “word count” when figuring out if I’ve achieved my writing goal.  I also want to allow myself to watch more inspirational and educational programs that are relevant to my projects, take notes, and apply those lessons to my routine.  Many of these programs take a full hour to watch.  It’s pertinent information, but once again, how do I transfer those activities toward my “word count”?

A few days ago I was making my goal sheet for items I wanted to work on for the week and I had written my online resources of Optimize, Collaboration, and even Nerd Fitness (I’m really digging Steve’s blog posts, his videos, and his motivational speeches) as appropriate activities toward my word count.  As long as I took notes on these programs, I would count each class as 500 words.  The next day, I was going through my list of possible “to dos” and noticed the Online Resource section.  There was also a section on Conservation Fitness Guide, Animal Exercise Cards, submitting articles for publication, and getting photos for those articles.  However, what struck me was I had accidentally (or, as I am absolutely loving this word lately- serendipitously) written the word “points” instead of “words”.

A light bulb went off.  I can make writing and working on different projects a game!  I can use positive reinforcement to reward my behavior of accumulating points. I went ballistic.  I had the chance to do my absolutely favorite writing activity- creating lists!  AND incorporate my passion for operant conditioning to achieve these items written on the lists.  To keep it related to the ZooFit and Zookeeper Guide to Fitness Theme, I decided instead of “quests”, I would be going on “Safari”. The Quest system from Nerd Fitness didn’t fit me exactly, but they showed me the way to create a system that works fantastically for me! My Life Safari is divided in my own personal “Big Five”, and I can’t wait to level up and make great things happen!

Fitness Safari   10,000 points = Movie Night

Do a workout 250 points
Achieve personal record in workout (bench, pull-up, deadlift, etc) 500 points
Beat previous score on workout 500 points
Stretch and foam roll (especially quads) 500 points
Go for a hike 1000 points

Eating “Green” Safari  15,000 points= Out to Dinner

Drink glass of water 100 points
No eating after 9 pm 500 points
Home-cooked meal 100 points
Log meals 200 points
Meal Plan for week 500 points
Sticking to meal plan each day 500 points

 Household Safari  5,000 points = Day off Island

Clean kitchen 500 points
Dishes 100 points
Sweep floor 250 points
Recycling 250 points
Fold laundry 100 points
Gardening 500 points
Clean desk 500 points
Take things to storage 500 points
Clean car (inside or out) 250 points

Health Safari   5,000 points = Whole Foods Shopping Spree

Lose 1 pound (not to exceed 2 a week) 500 points
Meditation 500 points
Bed by 10:00 pm 500 points

Writing Safari   25,000 points = Day at Spa for massage, facial, whatever)

Study/Resources

Optimize Master Class or Collabornation Program 500 points
Philosopher’s Note or Nerd Fitness 250 points
In-person classes or workshops 500 points
Read a book (once finished can collect points) 250 points
Attend co-works for an hour 500 points
Writing Critique Group 250 points

 

Toastmasters Speech 500 points

Animal Exercise Cards

Create 18 decks 100 points
Create videos for exercises or workouts 1000 points

Video Projects

ZooFit Challenges 1000 points
Vlog 2500 points

Facebook Group Engagement

Interesting articles, blog posts 250 points
ZooFit Challenges 500 points
South Island CrossFit groups 250 points

Conservation Fitness Guide

Write-ups on nutrition/conservation/fitness Per word
Meal plan tasks 250 points
Gathering photos 500 points

Reuse, Recycle, Reduce Your Waist

Writing (intro, instructions) Per word
Actually making equipment 500 points
Gathering/taking photos 500 points

Articles

Writing Per word
Editing 250 points
Photos 250 points
Submitting to publication 500 points
Guest blogging (outside of North Sound Writers) 1500 points

Zookeeper Guide to Fitness

Writing Per word
Editing 250 points per page

 

Public Programs (Parks and Recs, Bootcamps, Seminars, Workshops, Conferences, etc) 3500 points

You may notice that some of my tasks have high point value, even though they don’t feel like “boss battles” (doing a public program, guest blogging, and getting YouTube channel with regular vlogs are huge “boss battles”).  For instance, I don’t meditate as often as I feel I should.  Doesn’t really matter why I don’t, I just don’t.  So if I pump up the point value, while I’m at level 1, I am more apt to try for those activities to boost my overall score.  When I level up, say , after I’ve collected the jackpot a few times, the points needed to redeem reward will go up.

I have successfully turned my writing habit, fitness habit, and other life habits into a freaking video game!

Be jealous. Be very very jealous. And then go level up your own life in your own way!

 

 

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