Note: This is Part 6 of a 10-Part Touchstone Training series. To catch up on previous trainings, click here.
Have you ever played a video game?
Growing up, my brother and I used to ride our bikes to the nearest arcade. We’d hang out for hours, blasting asteroids and centipedes into bits, and laugh all the way home.
What I learned from my “gaming” days is that activities become more fun as your skills improve.
Game-makers know this. Well-designed games offer different levels of play to keep gamers engaged. In Asteroids, for example, the game starts with a few, slow-moving, large asteroids. You have time to learn. You have fun figuring out how to operate your spaceship so that you aren’t instantly shot down by a flying saucer or blow yourself up crashing into an asteroid.
As the game progresses, you are automatically moved up to the next level of play. You get faster-moving, asteroids and more aggressive saucers. This challenges your current abilities, but not so much that you want to quit.
The natural result of this leveling-up strategy is that it keeps the game fun, and allows time for players to improve their skills.
The best game-makers understand this. They design progressions, or “next levels” for players to strive for.
They also always give you more than one “life” — a brilliant strategy I’ll talk about in a minute.
Three Game Design Strategies For Leveling Up And Losing Weight
We can learn a lot about how to level-up our lifestyles by borrowing some key game design strategies.
Let’s take a look.
When the game is too hard, or no longer fun, we bail.
If I lost my 25 cents in 30 seconds the first time I played Asteroids, I would have pouted and called it a stupid game.
We adults do this, too. When we try to make lifestyle changes that are too advanced for our current level (ie. the opposite of small steps) or not fun, we pout, curse, and call it quits.
Here’s the take-away. We are the game designers of our lives. We get to choose the levels at which we play.
So, why not intentionally design the levels of our game? Why not design our
game life so that it is fun and encourages us to level up at the same time?
Success is the result of many failures.
Earlier I noted the fact that games always give you more than one “life.” When you crash your rocket into asteroids, a new one magically appears.
It’s almost as if game-makers don’t actually expect you to do it perfectly. You can get obliterated by alien saucers and still come back to try again. Isn’t that interesting? (Yes, that's me being sarcastic.)
This is how it goes when we’re leveling up our lifestyles, too. It’s ok to crash and burn. It’s not the end of the game. You will make mistakes. You will do dumb things. And it’s ok.
We get to keep playing. How cool is that?
The more we play, the more we learn. And the more we learn, the more we want to keep playing.
Once you’ve reached a certain level, there’s no going back.
This is the neat thing about leveling up. Once you reach a new level, the old level is simply not appealing to you any longer. Once you’ve become proficient with a new skillset, the old way of doing things seems pointless.
Nobody would ever say, “I think I’ll take a crawl around the block.” We don’t go back once we’ve truly leveled up.
It’s the same thing on your weight loss journey. Some examples:
- Once you level up your eating skills, you no longer crave junk food.
- Once you level up your mindset skills, self-sabotaging is no longer your default behavior.
- Once you level up your love skills, settling for relationships that suck the life out of you is no longer acceptable.
There is no end to leveling up. We don’t achieve a certain level in our lives and then say, “Ok, I’m done. Time to check-out.”
No, we keep going. Leveling-up is human. We do it naturally. Instinctively.
Your healing journey is going to be a series of leveling-ups. Don't aim for level 10 when you're playing at level 3. Just go with the game and have some fun along the way.
In the next email, I'll reveal the two things that keep us stuck in self-sabotaging mode.
In the meantime, be kind to yourself.
PS. You may have noticed the emails in this Touchstone Training series aren’t random. I am stacking ideas, intentionally inviting you to level-up your thinking as we go along. I am preparing you for an amazing healing journey. I know you’ll be ready.