The Water Game

I don’t drink enough water and I’ve never been good at remembering to; it’s just not part of my daily routine.  So I decided to give gamification a shot at reversing this bad habit.  Based on Jon Guerrera’s 2012 talk about his system of self-improvement I was inspired to start my own test.

Forget the Apps, Gamifying with Post-It Notes from The Gamification Summit on

I determined that I should be drinking about 100 oz of water during the workday.  So I measured the volume of my usual drinking vessel (shout out to IIT Campus Sustainability) and found that it was 20 oz, therefore my goal would be to drink 5 full bottles a day.  I worked up a quick scoring mechanism and indicated what kinds of rewards I would get upon completion of each goal.

scoring post-itI tried to identify real motivational rewards as Jon advises, so I thought that cash would be a good place to start.  I think I will iterate in the next version so that the reward for full completion is a larger actual item like a specific blu-ray or something for my car because I don’t find the cash to be that motivating. I’m really just interested in the accomplishment at this point.  I think I may also attempt to dabble in “activated ability” concept to allow myself to receive non-water splurges (like full-flavored soda) to break up the monotony of tasteless water.


I hope that eventually I will have turned drinking more water into a habit.  We’ll see if gamification can help me with this goal.