The Loop

Every game has a loop. A need is presented, the hero attempts to solve the need, there is a problem or conflict, the hero defeats or solves the problem, and there is a reward.

World of Warcraft was brilliant in creating interesting gaming loops. Some of the loops were short, 1 minute battles, and some of the loops are hour long raids with 20 other people taking on harder and harder boss monsters. There was failure in the loop, but the failure rarely made the player give up completely because the loop was fun, the rewards were great, and the player was given the tools to solve the problem.

When it comes to healthy living the loop is broken. The work is often hard, the time between rewards and effort is weeks or months, and the tools to solve the problem are often mysterious.

I propose the health industry needs a gaming loop. One that motivates “players” to move toward achieving health in a fun, engaging, rewarding, and with obvious steps.

Squad Goals

Fortnite, the free battle royal game, has taken over my house. In this game you and 100 other players are dropped onto an island via a party bus air balloon. You forage for building resources and weapons while trying to avoid or eliminate other players. The truth is I am very bad at this game. When there is combat I am nearly always the first one to be killed. The game for me just isn’t that much fun.

But that is not why I play. I play to spend time with my son. He loves the game and can’t stop talking about it. So I join him for a few games. We laugh about how bad I am and how he has to carry me on his back.

When we play together we have more fun than separately. And that is what it is like for making healthy life choices. You might not like it, but doing it together or in a SQUAD can make the changes easier, and even a bit fun.

Emotional Power

“What does it take to make you angry?” This was said to Oliver Queen in the show Arrow (season 2, episode 2) by the copycat vigilante Roy. They were in the police station after Roy tried to stop a robbery of medical supplies. The hospital in the Glades (the bad side of town) was in danger of closing. Roy needed to take action. His anger propelled him to fight against the thugs stealing the supplies.

Most of us don’t have the problems of a comic book crime fighter, but we do have enemies stealing our health and happiness. Yet instead of anger towards the enemies we make excuses and rationalize their existence.

What are the elements in your life you should be angry about but you just live with? Is it late night snacking? Is is your sleeping habits what prevent you from being active? What about those extra 5, 10, or 15 pounds that keep you from looking and feeling your best? What does it take to make you angry? Answer that question and you will be on your way to actually making life changes to defeat those enemies.

Nemesis

So, day one of new me and I already hit a snag. I am committed to change. I am dissatisfied with the present and the future. I am ready for change, but I failed to identify my Nemesis. Late night snacking and late night sweets. Last night, on the night I decided to get 8 hours of sleep I snacked on chocolate covered espresso beans. Not just one or two beans, I consumed 10 or so beans. And then I stayed up till 2am jittering in my bed.

If you are going to make life changes there will be snags. Be ready because your Nemesis will find you. Prepare for it and conquer it. No more chocolate covered espresso beans for me!