Hard Mode

Don’t run around in circles. Make it a habit of getting things done!

Hard mode is a play style of Habitica that aims to make it more challenging to play, and more rewarding when you succeed. By modifying the effort to reward ratio we can leverage Habitica as a tool for more effective and realistic habit building. With Hard Mode enabled, we ensure your in-game level is a realistic indicator for the progress you’ve made in real life.

Key Techniques

Keep it simple: five or fewer tasks in each category. This is due to the raw science of building any habit or habitual activity. Less is more! Make sure those five tasks in each category are relevant to you. This may take time to truly take a look at yourself and see your strengths and weaknesses. This may be painful but it is necessary. Get rid of the clutter!

Reduce boss rewards. Bosses give off an unreasonably high amount of experience and gold which undermines the idea that rewards should be earned through self discipline (gold gained from completing tasks). By reducing the rewards gained from bosses — instructions below — we can keep the motivation that quests provide while keeping your in-game progress an honest reflection of your real life conquests!

Optional: “The Archives”. This is a space on your to-do list for tasks that are not immediate (not part of today’s five tasks), but are still important.

  • When adding a task to The Archives, click on Archives and add the task under “checklist”
  • When taking a task from The Archives to your To-Do’s, copy task under “checklist” and paste it in the To-Do.

The Methodology

Dailies Column

You should organise the difficulty of your five dailies as follows:

  • Trivial (3-4 Tasks): Most of your dailies should be set to trivial difficulty. In hard mode, your experience and gold gained should be from self-discipline, which is mainly going to be stemming from your To-Do list.
  • Easy (1-2 Tasks): Dailies that you attribute a higher difficulty to should be tasks that you least want to do or that takes the most amount of time, since they earn you more experience and gold.

To-Do Column

This is your main source of experience and gold. You will be leveling up by completing these tasks. Organize your tasks as follows:

  • Trivial: Small activity that takes little to no effort. Great for the little things we need to remind ourselves to get done
  • Easy: An activity that took an adequate amount of self discipline/time to complete. You should feel the need to push yourself a good amount to complete this task
  • Medium: An activity that you have been dreading. This should be an activity that you have put a great deal of self discipline into in order to complete the task. Otherwise, this task should take an hour or longer
  • Hard: Save the “Hard” difficulty for the projects, papers, and any other giant of a workload you need to do. This should be very difficult to get yourself to do, or it should last 1.5 hours +

Rewards Column

Yes, you should use the rewards column! Take a minute to look at your habitual patterns when you have a spare minute. Most of the time, we default to a certain activity or set of activities that make us feel good such as social media, video games or Netflix. There is nothing wrong with these activities, as long as they are in balance with the true rewards in your life.

When out of hand, these instant gratification activities have the capacity to rewire your mind until you constantly feel the need to pursue these minor successes in order to feel good. This distracts from your long-term goals and ultimately hinders your progress. Here’s how to weave them into Hard Mode:

  • Identify your reward activities. One you’ve identified what your habitual feel-good activities are, put them down as your rewards! By integrating these activities as things to be earned, this can rewire your mind’s habit of automatically reverting to these comfortable activities whenever you have a free moment.
  • Optional: “Put it in the Bank!” This keeps your money locked out of sight and out of mind while keeping your gold safe in case your character dies. Add a reward named “Vault: ## Gold” which costs 60 gold. Every time you save up enough money, ‘purchase’ that reward and modify the title to add 50 gold to your bank — you spend the remaining 10 gold in bank fees. You can remove this gold at any time, for purchasing items or equipment, by manually adjusting your character’s gold (as described in Step 3 of the next section). Don’t forget to update the reward title when you withdraw from the bank!

Removing Boss Rewards

As part of your setup you’ll need to manually adjust the rewards you’ll receive from completing a quest. After you complete a quest, make note of how much gold and experience you’ve received (or look up the quest rewards on the Habitica Wiki) so you can remove it. Click the steps below for screenshots explaining how to proceed:

Step 1: Click on the ‘Profile’ icon in the top right corner, and click ‘Settings’.

Step 2: Scroll down until you find the button ‘Fix Character Values’ on the left side.
Step 3: Adjust ‘Experience’ and ‘Gold’ to remove your quest rewards. Then click ‘Save & Close’.

Hard Mode Recap

  • Keep it simple. Your brain works best when things are clean and orderly.
  • If you’re looking to truly create a habit, focus on one habit at a time (usually for a three month period).

Note: This is the only true way habits can be formed. If you want to learn how to meditate, make it your obsession. Meditate every single day at 7am for ninety days. Don’t, however, try to meditate, start eating a specific diet, begin waking up at 5am, start journaling for an hour, and go for runs in the evenings all in the same week.

  • Use Hard Mode tools such as The Archives and The Bank to organize Habitica.
  • Imagine that experience gained is the work you’ve put into life. If you’re gaining experience and not feeling like you’ve put in work to get there, your tasks should be adjusted.

After you’ve set everything up, your hard mode should look something like this…

Thanks For Reading!

We created Hard Mode as a way of making Habitica more impactful in our quest to build self discipline and create powerful habits. Habitica should be an organic experience where your level of your character indicates the level you have grown to while starting your journey.