The Zen Habits Game

Here are the rules of the Zen Habits Game:

  1. Commit: At the start of each week, make a commitment to one person, or a group of up to 10 other people, to do a Habit Sprint. Commit to a habit, create a habit plan, with rewards and an embarrassing consequence, and share it with them.
  2. Track: You start with 5 points. During the week, if you miss a day, you subtract 1 point. If you miss two days in a row, you lose 1 point for the first day, and lose 2 for the second day, so you’ll lose 3 points total if you miss two straight days. And 3 more points if you miss a third straight day. Keep a shared online document or spreadsheet, or use a group on a forum or your favorite social networking site, to keep track of how everyone is doing.
  3. Streaks: If you do 5 straight days, add 1 point. If you get your streak 7 straight days, add 2 more points.
  4. Review: On the seventh day, after doing your habit, do a Habit Review and share it with your habit partner or group. How many points did you lose? What got in the way? What will you do next time to overcome those obstacles? Put the solutions on your habit plan, and the plan will get better with each sprint. You get 2 points for doing the review.
  5. Score: So the best possible score is the original 5, plus 3 for a 7-day streak, plus 2 more for the review — for a total of 10 points. If you do that, you were perfect! Give yourself a reward and bragging points. The worst possible score is 0, if you missed a few days in a row and didn’t do the review. If you ended up with 0, do the embarrassing consequence.
  6. Level Up: Do the Habit Sprints each week, and start your score back at 5 each week. Aim to get a better and better score each week. If you get better this week than last, or remain at 10, give yourself a reward. If you get 2 or more points worse than last week, give yourself the embarrassing consequence.

So basically, you get points for keeping a streak going and doing the end-of-the-week review, and you lose points for missing days, especially if you miss two or more straight days.

And you get rewards for having a great week, or getting better each week, and embarrassing consequences if you miss a lot of days and don’t do the review.

This is a fun game to play with a group. You can each have a different habit, but hold each other accountable. Try to encourage each other to stick with it — if you can all average a score of 30 after four Habit Sprints, maybe give yourselves a big group reward, like a group day trip somewhere or some kind of party.

Set up a Zen Habits Game

Today, ask one or more friends to join you in the Zen Habits Game. Share these rules and challenge them to do this with you. This could be a great way to finally stick to those habits you’ve all been wanting to form!