The last 10 percent

Posted on March 25, 2019 with tags . See the previous or next posts.


Gamification is everywhere this days, but sometimes it’s well implemented, sometimes not. In this particular case—Garmin environment—it introduced badges around a year or two ago for all kind of things (whether real achievements or not), most of them interesting or at least funny, like having an activity while below 0°C, etc.

The other nice part of all this was that it allows you to easily compare badges with connections. Which results, err can result in races to both get the badges your connections have but you don’t, and get ones that they don’t. All this because it also has a leaderboard based on the total points accumulated—and some badges are worth way more points than basic ones.

One thing I found out this way was that some of my connections had the “achieve step goal 30 days in a row” (4 points!), or even 60 days (8 points!!!). But how can this be, since by default Garmin increases the goal as long as you hit each day’s goals? This was the reason I couldn’t get it before, as the target inexorably increases, and would reach something like 3 hours of walking needed per day at 60 days.

So, my conclusion was that this is possible only with switching to fixed-goal (N steps per day), and did so. I set myself a moderate goal (I don’t walk much, sadly, especially when I commute by bike), and started working towards it. This was back in December. And I still don’t have the badge, argh!

In the first iteration, I went all the way up to 29 days, had 40 steps left for the day, was almost celebrating, but at the end of the day completely forgot about it—because it was just 2 minutes of moving needed. 29 days of carefully checking each evening my goal, all gone away due to early sleeping during vacation… All that was between me and my goal were 40 lousy steps.

I said no problem, I’ll start again. So once more I go, all the way up to 28 days, when sadly external factors intervened and I really couldn’t hit my goal on the 28th day. At least not my fault this time, or at least partially not my fault—had I met my goal early in the day and not leave it to match on the evening, I would have still gotten it.

So, on third iteration now. All went well until day 24th or so, when I got a bit of a cold. This was Wednesday last week, but still, between stuff (I got out of the house that day), it was easy to get the steps. Then, Thursday, I was really out and stayed in-house, with running nose and headache and all that stuff, when I realised: this is a “you-will-not-get-the-badge” event type!! Damn you dungeon master! I needed to move. So here I was, indoors, slowly pacing between the hot teas, for one hour, then after some sleep for another hour, until I hit my goal. Yay!

Today (Monday), I’m at 27 days out of 30. If I hit my goal today, tomorrow and Wednesday, I’ll finally have the damn badge and can both increase my target steps and start working towards the 60 day badge.

But three days is a lot. Many things could happen, including the worst case: my watch could stop working or I could lose it. And I don’t have a backup… I need to be careful…

So yeah, sometimes gamification really works :)