Habitica is a website and app designed to help you meet your goals. It is basically a customizable to-do list, but adds a small but motivating gaming component and an option to join targeted communities of people from shared backgrounds or who are working on similar goals.

Habitica's main page is simply a set of three checklists; a list of tasks you want to do daily, a list for habits you want to encourage (but might do more or less frequently than daily), and a traditional to-do list -- check something off and it is gone for good. Their hook, however, is that each time you check something off, you get gold and/or a random drop. Conversely, missing a daily task will loose you health.

The gaming element is very light. The gold is useful for buying armor and weapons which help you get a little more gold and level faster. The random drops are eggs and hatching potions, and food to feed the resulting beasts. And that's pretty much it -- ignoring this aspect of the site won't lose you much of anything, although collecting all of the animals is a bit addicting, and will probably help motivate you to complete your lists.

The community aspect is a bit underdone. I find the chatroom interface clunky and hard to read, and there aren't personal pages in the way that there are in most social media sites, simply a list of stats and achievements. I suspect that this is because they are attempting to optimize for their app interface, making the website interface look rather spartan. The majority of users aren't there to socialize anyway, but there are 'guilds' (topical chatrooms) for groups focused on social anxiety, quitting smoking, exercise, transgender issues, rationality, and many other groups.

Despite Habitica's focus on hand-held devices (which I do not use), 8-bit gaming graphics (which I find hard on the eyes), and a frankly underwhelming gamification system, I have found it motivating to keep on-track in developing and maintaining good habits, and it has probably saved my houseplants from dehydration more times than I care to admit. Habitica is not the only habit-building app out there, but if you are looking for a simple site without too much in the way of bells and whistles, it is a good place to start.

Visit the site here.

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