Contributor Spotlight: Dewines

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Welcome to the Contributor Spotlight Series, where we interview amazing members of the Habitica community! Today we’re chatting with Dewines, one of our Moderators and the leader and creator of several fabulous Guilds! She helps manage the community and keep Habitica safe and happy.

Dewines, how did you get involved with Habitica?

It was all because of the April Fool’s joke in 2014 when all the avatars were turned into fruits and vegetables. Jim Hines mentioned this on his blog, and after reading his post about Habitica, it looked like such a cool idea that I went to sign up to see what it was all about. It turned out to be exactly what I’d been looking for to motivate me to actually do stuff, and more than two years later, I’m still here.

What’s your proudest contribution to Habitica?

Probably the Guilds I created. I still run some of them but I’ve also handed others over to new leaders. One of these was the Guild Leaders & Challenge Creators Guild, where people help one another by sharing good ideas related to keeping their Guilds active. Of the Guilds I created and still run, I’m probably most proud of the Long-Term Accountability Guild. This helps people plan long-term goals and also encourages them to monitor their progress. It’s easy to let goals slide if you don’t keep an eye on them. Finally, there’s the quirky Haiku Guild where everyone posts about what they’ve been doing in the form of haiku. I created it almost as a joke, but it’s turned out to be surprisingly popular.

What are your secret superpowers?

Being able to make a tasty soup out of random wrinkled vegetables found lurking in the fridge.

What are your secret weaknesses?

It’s not really so secret, but procrastination is my main weakness. Tasks and projects always take much longer than they should because I put off starting. If there’s an external deadline, I’m always finishing things in a panic at the last minute.

What are your favorite Habitican pets/mounts?

I do love many of the new quest pets, especially the owl pets and the horse mounts. However, I think my favourites are the original fox pets.

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What some things you’re tracking in Habitica?

As well as mundane things like doing the laundry and washing dishes, I’m tracking the hours I spend learning Welsh and using Dailies to make sure I get some exercise each day.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Knitting and crocheting, going for walks, writing and photography.

What are your top Habitica tips and tricks?

It’s important to keep assessing your Habitica tasks to make sure they are still motivating you. My set up now is nothing like what it was when I started two and half years ago. I don’t mean you should be switching tasks round every day, but every few weeks, if you have a daily that you just aren’t doing, you need to ask yourself why that is. Would it be better as a Habit or a To-Do? Also, don’t be overambitious. Start with a few tasks and then build on success. Finally, Habitica is brilliant for finding people who will support you. There are hundreds of Guilds on all kinds of topics and it’s very likely there’s one where you’ll find people with similar goals.

Where do you like to hang out in Habitica?

I’m in quite a lot of guilds but a couple of my favourites are the Long-term Goal Accountability Guild and Venture Outside Your Lair. I founded both of these because I wanted some way of keeping track of long-term goals and I also have a terrible habit of sitting indoors all day working on the computer or trying to read the entire internet. I’m also very fond of the Short-Term Goal Accountability Guild, known affectionately as STAG.

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Want to learn about some of the other contributors who make Habitica such a cool place? Check the Contributor Spotlight and Staff Spotlight tags on our blog!

Behind the Scenes: Apps We Use

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Illustration by JessicaChase

 

The “Behind The Scenes” series is a chance for us to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of HabitRPG, Inc., the company that makes Habitica. Every so often, we’ll treat you to some silly staff shenanigans or show you the work that goes into your favorite features. Enjoy!

As you might guess, the Habitica Staff puts the Habitica app at the top of the list when we think of our favorite and most-used apps, but today we thought we’d share some of the other apps we use. Some are other productivity tools, some are educational, and some are just fun! We hope you enjoy our list, and that it helps you discover some new and helpful apps for your own use!

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Beth, AKA Beffymaroo:  “I have a lot of fairly mainstream apps on my phone for the most part, but a surprisingly useful one I have that’s not as common is Luna Solaria (Android, iOS; free) It has info on the Sun and Moon’s rotational and orbital (in the case of the Moon) cycles relative to the Earth- so when someone looks up and says, ‘Oh hey, is that a full Moon?’ I can easily confirm or deny. Also handy for finding exact sunset/sunrise times! :)”

Phillip, AKA viirus: PCalc (iOS; $6.99). Because next to being a calculator, it’s also super handy for unit conversion and you can fully customize the UI to contain the features you want with one tap.”

Vicky, AKA redphoenix: “Brain.fm (Web, iOS; 7 sessions free, then subscription)  counteracts noisy working environments. There’s one track that makes me nauseous and their ‘classical music’ option is distracting because my brain keeps trying to break down it into the harpsichord part and other components, but otherwise it’s been very effective for kicking off a hard focus session when it’s not possible to get a completely distraction-free environment. Also, their sleep tracks have been effective in helping me get to sleep in strange new places.”

Leslie, AKA Lemoness: “My favorite non-Habitica app on my phone is Overdrive (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Kindle; free)! My work schedule is tight, so I’ve come to rely on audiobooks to fill my life with stories even when I don’t have time to curl up with a novel. Overdrive lets me check out audiobooks from my local library and download them on to my phone with a single tap. (If your own local library doesn’t use Overdrive, they may still use a similar app, so be sure to ask them.) Nothing’s better than listening to epic battle sequences while I prep Habitica’s pixel art! I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

Sabe, AKA SabreCat: Sleep as Android  (Android; free) is my alarm clock of choice. It provides soothing sounds to help me go to sleep, and when it’s time to get up, I have to get all the way downstairs to the office and scan a QR code on the wall to silence the alarm!”

Matteo, AKA Paglias:  “Lately I’ve decided to get serious about tracking my expenses and after a long search I’ve settled on Wallet (Android, iOS; free). It’s a spending tracker with tons of features like budgets, recurring expenses and so on, but what I like the most is that despite all the features it’s very easy and quick to use. It would be great to integrate it with Habitica if they introduce an API one day.”

Keith, AKA TheHollidayInn: “Duolingo (iOS, Android, Windows Phone; free) is an app that is in my daily routine – as a Habitica daily, of course. While I spend all day speaking to computers, it is nice to learn human languages as well 🙂 ”

We hope we’ve given you some ideas for more apps that can help you in the goals you’re using Habitica to reach (or are just plain fun!)! See you next time. 🙂

Sample Habits

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It’s Wiki Wednesday! Once a month we highlight a helpful post from the Wiki with tips about productivity, wellness, and optimizing your use of Habitica!

In last month’s edition of Wiki Wednesday we highlighted some fantastic advice from the Wiki about Establishing Your Tasks. Now that you’re working on setting up Tasks, you might be wondering where to start when you’re thinking about new Habits . Luckily, the Wiki Scribes have great examples to help you decide what goals and tasks are best suited for your Habits column!

Not everything will be a Habit. If trying to decide whether to make something a Habit, a Daily, or a To-Do, keep this in mind:

  1. Habits are actions that are performed daily, or even multiple times a day, in daily routine,
  2. usually occur unconsciously, and
  3. take time and effort to change.

Want to know more? Head over to the wiki to check out the full article!

Use Case Spotlight: Living Eco-Friendly

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So far in our 2017 Use Case Spotlight series, we’ve been focusing on what you can do to improve and maintain your health. But it’s also important to consider the health of our planet! Here are some great tips, tricks, and ideas for using Habitica to set (and maintain!) new tasks and goals related to Living Eco-Friendly. These come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

Inametaphor starts us out with an Earth-friendly way to begin your day!

I have a habit for “Avoided a Disposable Coffee Cup” (+ or -). When I use my travel mug, up it goes. Any time I find myself with a single use coffee cup, down it goes. This has inadvertently decreased my coffee consumption, because if I forget my travel mug, I don’t want to get dinged for getting a cup!

ProfJohnson has a special Daily to aid in recycling!

In our town we have curbside recycling pickup every other week. I have a daily setup to repeat every 14 days on the same day of the week

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Cvasilevski offers some Habit and Daily ideas for more eco-conscious living:

I use Habitica in a few ways to keep my life more eco-friendly:
Dailies

  1. One of my dailies (every day of the week) is to pick up at least one piece of litter lying on the ground and put it in the garbage or recycling
  2. One of my “weekly” dailies (every Sunday) is to cook all my breakfasts and lunches for the upcoming work week and freeze them in reusable plastic containers

Habits

  1. In addition to my “pick up litter” daily task, I have a positive habit for picking up extra pieces of trash and disposing of them properly. 1 piece = 1 hit on the plus sign
  2. I have a “vegan/vegetarian” habit. On days where I eat no meat, I hit the plus sign once. On days where I eat no animal products at all, I hit the plus sign twice. I ignore the habit (IE: there’s no penalty to HP) on days where I do eat meat.
  3. Buying food in bulk and buying fair trade/organic food are each positive habits
  4. Not sorting trash into proper receptacles is a negative habit (HP penalty if I don’t separate out paper from plastic, etc)

Valkry helps the Earth in a big way by adopting some feathered friends!

My BIG eco-friendly project for the last year was raising my own chickens. Lots of learning curve challenges, but I now have a tiny flock (2 Roosters & 1 Hen, not the best mix) that have survived, dog attacks and MN winters. Hope to add another full grown hen or two, and see if I can raise some chicks to fill out the flock, but for now my lil’ hen is laying an egg a day. Other then the eggs (and future chicken dinners) the best part of chickens is seeing how they LOVE the veggie scraps. It is so much more fun to watch chickens going gonzo for tidbits, then just dumping it in compost, and I still get nice batch of compost material from “deep-litter” straw from coop. Plus, my kids now have better understanding that we are part of nature- it isn’t just somewhere you visit once in awhile.

There were so many helpful and exciting tips we couldn’t feature them all here! You can see them all and join in the discussion in the Use Case Spotlights Guild– one of your ideas could be featured next month! Look for an announcement of next month’s theme from Bailey soon.


Also, if you missed it you may want to take a look at our most recent
Guild Spotlight, which showcases groups dedicated to Food and Cooking- some of the featured groups feature discussions and Challenges related to more Earth-friendly cooking and eating habits!

Keeping it Delicious and Nutritious: Guilds for Food and Cooking

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Illustration by KusSv

 

Last month, we looked at Health- and Fitness-related Guilds as we started off the New Year. Now we’re exploring another important aspect of your health: fueling your body and delighting your senses with delicious and wholesome food! Whether you’re totally new to eating healthy, or you’re a nutrition and food-prep pro, you can find fellow Habiticans who are excited to share tips, tricks, recipes, and more. Join us as we highlight a few of the Guilds in Habitica that focus on Food and Cooking!

The Chef’s Special https://habitica.com/#/options/groups/guilds/0f2c28ff-35db-47eb-a459-5466dcd7d958

The Chef’s Special is a place for cooking fanatics to connect! Guild members share recipes, talk technique, and share their favorite tips for making delicious meals. They also have some fun Challenges that will inspire you to try new things!

Vegetarians and Vegans: https://habitica.com/#/options/groups/guilds/1a7d0075-d590-4aaf-b671-52c5a514a8cf

Are you a lifelong vegetarian/vegan? Thinking about becoming one? Or maybe you are just looking into ways to reduce the amount of meat you consume for health or environmental reasons? If any of those apply to you, check out the Vegetarians and Vegans Guild for tips, recipes, and discussions of how to stay healthy on a diet that omits or reduces use of animal products!

Foodies: https://habitica.com/#/options/groups/guilds/2ed36580-011f-4abb-94fc-e52022f38f6f

This Guild is for everyone who loves food. Join discussions about recipes, restaurants, nutrition, and food-related culture from around the world,. This Guild also hosts a number of Challenges that can help you explore fun new food horizons or even help you pursue healthier eating habits!

Veggie Cooking Club: https://habitica.com/#/options/groups/guilds/30af590a-74d4-4e68-9e72-558a75c6c64d

If you love eating plants, this is the Guild for you! Open to those of all dietary persuasions, this group offers a great chat space for sharing veggie-forward recipes and exploring the best that the wide world of fruits and vegetables has to offer. Veggie Cooking Club is also home to a monthly Veggie Cooking Challenge!

These Guilds and many others are here to help you pursue nutritional goals as well as discover new and exciting foods and recipes. Check them out and get cooking! And if you’re looking for more advice on upping your Food and Cooking game, be sure to read this month’s Use Case Spotlight, featuring tips and tricks from fellow Habiticans!

Contributor Spotlight: shanaqui

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Welcome to the Contributor Spotlight Series, where we interview amazing members of the Habitica community! Today we’re chatting with shanaqui, one of our Moderators and Challengers. They help manage the community and keep Habitica safe and happy, and run lots of  exciting Challenges including Super Socialite and New Years Countdown!

shanaqui, How did you get involved with Habitica?

I think I just wandered into the Tavern one day, learned about socialite tiers, and decided to use my all-too-abundant spare time for something positive. I have less free time now, but I’m self-employed, so it’s easy to drop in.

What’s your proudest contribution to Habitica?

I’m pretty proud of the New Year Countdown challenges. It was just a passing idea to spread some gems around at the end of 2015, and then suddenly loads of people were participating and even donating gems for prizes; I was getting tons of messages from people who loved it; and incidentally some of the tasks benefitted charities or encouraged people to do positive actions in their communities. I started saving up gems to run it again as soon as we got to September!

What are your secret superpowers?

I can type at 100wpm, allowing me to ninja Alys. That’s a superpower, right?

What are your secret weaknesses?

I tend to resort to passive-aggressiveness and have to work really hard to keep a lid on it. Oh, you said secret… well, I’m actually not a very organised person. I like making lists more than I like sticking to them.

What are your favorite Habitican pets/mounts?

Pet-wise, hedgehogs! Mounts, I have an enormous fondness for the dragons; the first thing I hatch after using Keys to the Kennels is a red dragon, so I can dress my avatar up like the Welsh flag ready for game days. I also have high hopes for the upcoming hippos. But for now, hedgehogs and dragons reign supreme.

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What some things you’re tracking in Habitica?

Books! I have habits not to buy books impulsively, a to-do for reading a set list of books per month, a daily for making time to read no matter how busy I am, a daily for writing reviews for my blog… These will probably surprise nobody. Also, from necessity, my class schedule: it’s an intense diet of cell biology, human biology, evolutionary biology and neuroscience, this year, which is exciting but takes a lot of planning and scheduling.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Read! I know, it’s a shock. Also crochet, gaming, sometimes writing, and when the weather is cool, walking. I like to do a lot of learning in addition to my actual BSc, so I practise my languages and play chess problems.

What are your top Habitica tips and tricks?

If you’re feeling a lot of resistance to doing a Daily, it’s a good idea to reconsider it — whether that means changing the difficulty, only doing it on alternate days, or dropping it entirely. It’s a sign that it’s not working for you, not aligning with your goals or just not that important to your life right now, even if it’s something you feel that you should like.

Where do you like to hang out in Habitica?

I’m nearly always in the Tavern, but I also love the Legendary Book Club guild and the Short Term Goal Accountability guild. Rare is the day I don’t check into those guilds, and the support from other members of the STGA guild is probably one of the reasons I’ve had so much success with Habitica.

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Want to learn about some of the other contributors who make Habitica such a cool place? Check the Contributor Spotlight and Staff Spotlight tags on our blog!

BEHIND THE SCENES: Our Beloved Pets

The “Behind The Scenes” series is a chance for us to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of HabitRPG, Inc., the company that makes Habitica. Every so often, we’ll treat you to some silly staff shenanigans or show you the work that goes into your favorite features. Enjoy!
Many of you have seen our fancy pixel pets on display next to our avatars, but in honor of today’s love-filled holiday, we wanted to show you some of the real-life pets that we adore. Enjoy!

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Autumn frequently uses Stealth, so it can be tough for Sabe to capture a photo.
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On the other hand, Sabe’s dog Menchi is a more outgoing adventurer…
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…as is Watson the Basenji! (Elementary, my dear pup!)
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It’s fitting that Verily the cat is so fond of decorations, since her owner is Leslie, the Seasonal Sorceress!
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Verily is always on the alert for new ways to earn gold and experience…
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…and never misses the opportunity to battle a Boss!
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Meanwhile, Vicky’s dog, Ruby, is thrilled at the prospect of checking off her “Exercise” Daily with an awesome hike.
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Since brain is just as important as brawn, Ruby also makes sure to spend time organizing her tasks…. her tasty, tasty tasks.
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After a hard day improving your Strength, Intelligence, and Perception, don’t forget to get plenty of rest to boost your Constitution!
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Phillip’s cat Muffin is a constant coding companion…
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…even when he falls asleep on the job!
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Keith’s dog Izzy is eager to meet you 😛
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Plus, his cats Talulah and Pilgrim know that being in a Party with friends is a great way to stay accountable to your tasks… even when your only To-Do is “Sit on the Rug.”
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Beth’s cat Beauford has lots of Dailies, including “Test Pillow Softness”…
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…”Play Sports”….
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…and even “Model on the Catwalk!” (Believe it or not, Beth made that bandanna herself.)
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Alys’ cat Anya might need to add “Studied Reading Comprehension” to her Dailies, but at least Kissy the dog can click the (+) on her “Sharing Graciously” Habit!
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Meanwhile, Alys’ cat Ben is prepared to leap into battle, dragons or no.
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Cantras’ dog Alvin says, “Don’t let anyone make you feel silly about the stuff you love! Even if you love a ball wrapped in an old sock.”
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Alvin also wants you to know that when your tasks are hard, you should never be afraid to ask for help.
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Megan’s cat Taz doesn’t even WANT to look at all those dark red To-Dos!
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Meanwhile, Megan’s other cat, Casper, shows us that he knows quite a few tricks, including rolling over for kibbles!
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Hulk the bunny needs to consult with her owner, shanaqui, about which class to choose. Should she be a Rogue, since she’s so good at disguise?
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Or should she be a Mage, since she’s so good at studying?
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This is too exhausting for Hulk. Time to Rest in the Inn.

We hope that you enjoyed meeting our real-world companions 🙂 Even though none of them are Gold, Red, or Cotton Candy Blue, they make up a spectacular menagerie.

Until next time!

Establishing Your Tasks

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It’s Wiki Wednesday! Once a month we highlight a helpful post from the Wiki with tips about productivity, wellness, and optimizing your use of Habitica!

In last month’s edition of Wiki Wednesday, we highlighted some fantastic advice from the Wiki about Starting Over Options. Whether you’ve started fresh for 2017, or you’re just looking to re-evaluate your Tasks, you might be wondering where to start when you’re thinking about new Habits, Dailies, and To-Dos. Luckily, the Wiki Scribes have great detailed information to help you decide what Tasks to list, and what categories may work best for them!

Consider your current tasks, aspirations, and struggles.

If you’re looking for a planner, or something to balance work and play, you may want to add all different areas of your life: habits, scheduled tasks, chores, one-time tasks, recreation, etc.

If you want to establish stronger daily routines, you can focus on that area of your life. You can break tasks into very small steps using checklists or adding notes to your tasks (visible on mouse-over).

Want to know more? Head over to the wiki to check out the full article!

Use Case Spotlight: Food and Cooking

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Illustration by KusSv

As we continue into 2017, it’s a great idea to continue evaluating your health goals for this year as well as setting new ones. Here are some great tips, tricks, and ideas for using Habitica to set (and maintain!) new tasks and goals related to Food and Cooking. These come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

Mari offers some great ideas for setting up Food and Cooking-related Tasks!

I have a variety of general and specific Habits, Dailies, and To Do’s. Habits: Eat Junk Food (-) and Eat 1 Healthy Meal (+ or -). Dailies include Pack Healthy Lunch and Track 1 Thing each day, and then weekly Plan Meals and Prep Healthy Food/Meals. To Do’s vary and may be Try New Food/Recipe, Farmer’s Market, or Freezer Seal special veggies or soup so I have it readily on hand. Habitica helps keep me organized, motivated, and on track which makes eating more healthfully much easier!

SpawnofElvis has some Habits and Dailies to help encourage cooking:

Last year I was trying to cook more regularly, and made ‘cook a meal’ a daily item. It worked really well. This year I want to go 100% vegetarian, and I have come up with a habit: choose the vegetarian option, and a daily: eat fresh veggies. I just joined the Vegetarians and Vegans guild to help with my resolution to go all the way. In the past, learning to make Indian and Japanese dishes has helped encourage me to cook vegetarian more often at home. It’s restaurants that are the hard part for me

StormyScribe is combating food waste in a big way!

I keep track of the perishables in my fridge and pantry with a check list in a to-do called “Use it or lose it.” I also keep a Meal Plan to-do where I can slot in leftovers to make sure they don’t go bad. Finally, I have a – habit I click when something goes bad. This system has really helped me cut out food waste (and cut the grocery bills….).

Dan O’Dea uses To-Do’s to explore new culinary horizons:

I’ve always used Habitica to-dos for grocery lists – now I’m also using it to make at least one “new” food per week. I have piles of cookbooks of all sorts, but it’s easy to get into a rut (e.g., Meatloaf Monday) or just wing it (a casserole today). I want to make eating more interesting, and also involve my wife more (she’s not a cook), which is important as both our children are away at college, so there’s an added benefit to that.

There were so many helpful and exciting tips we couldn’t feature them all here! You can see them all and join in the discussion in the Use Case Spotlights Guild– one of your ideas could be featured next month! Look for an announcement of next month’s theme from Bailey soon.

Also, if you missed it you may want to take a look at our most recent Guild Spotlight, which showcases groups dedicated to Health and Fitness- another important aspect of your well-being. These Guilds can give you more ideas and some even have themed Challenges to help you pursue healthy goals!

Starting a Happy, Healthy 2017: Guilds for Health and Fitness

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Illustration by James Danger

January is a great time to re-evaluate your goals for your physical health and fitness! Whether you’ve set specific goals for the New Year, or whether you’re already on an ongoing journey to better health, you can find fellow Habiticans who are excited to join you and help support you. This month we highlight some Guilds in Habitica that focus on Health and Fitness!

Health Nuts:

https://habitica.com/#/options/groups/guilds/b422b8a5-8d66-4197-9f91-d4edb8610264

This Guild has something for everyone looking to improve their health! Check out their active and supportive chat to talk about your challenges and successes, or take a look at the large variety of Challenges offered by Guild members to help give you a boost of motivation.

The Road Goes Ever On:

https://habitica.com/#/options/groups/guilds/d3d13d83-8c0e-4a18-aa24-cab1127b238f

The Road Goes Ever On encourages you to exercise with a fun twist: your activity translates into miles walked on a Guild journey across the world! You can see how far they’ve walked on several progress trackers linked on their Guild page. You can join, and help get them all the way across the Atlantic and beyond!

Evidence-Based Fitness: https://habitica.com/#/options/groups/guilds/fd345cc5-da2e-4651-8b64-78dc0d6d5d1e

This Guild focuses on improving health and fitness by using the scientific evidence to help work out the best and most effective methods. Their chat is an ongoing discussion of the latest research as well as Guild members’ own experiences with different techniques and strategies.

These Guilds and many others are here to help you get on track with your New Year’s Health and Fitness goals. Check them out and get on the road to a healthier you in 2017!