Gamify Your New Year’s Resolutions and Turn Your Life into a D&D Campaign

I love writing and dreaming up fantasy worlds – one of the main reasons why I wanted to create a blog that focuses on living as a main character. So you might find it surprising to hear that I went through the first 30 years of my life without ever touching Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). In 2022, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked as video after video popped up on my TikTok feed sharing creative storytelling and situations that D&D players had come up with. I wanted to be a part of that world! Somehow the stars aligned just right – not too long after, my friend mentioned that she was getting together a group for D&D. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

I was so excited to get started and worked toward building the perfect character for myself: a Spring Eladrin Ranger (who just recently became a drakewarden – whoo!). As we got into our sessions, I started to realize a few things. One, I really love nat 20s. Two, I need a lot more practice before I can say I’m good at improv and D&D. And three, the more creative a player is when utilizing their abilities and skills, then the more fun you can have!

To get to the point of this blog post, the abilities and skills from D&D were still on my mind when I started to think about the types of resolutions I want to set for myself in 2023. Would setting a goal of “writing one blog post a week” or “write 2000 words a week in my novel” really work for me? Sure, they’re SMART goals, but I’ve chosen similar goals in the past and then never followed through. I started to wonder if rethinking how I look at resolutions would make things more fun, and help me actually work towards completing them.

What are abilities and skills in Dungeons and Dragons?

For those who haven’t played D&D or who are new, here’s a quick recap on abilities and skills in Dungeons and Dragons.

  • Ability scores are the primary statistics for a D&D character. They consist of:
    • Strength
    • Dexterity
    • Constitution
    • Intelligence
    • Wisdom
    • Charisma

  • Skills are the different things that your character can be proficient in, each one relating to your ability scores. For example, a skill of perception falls underneath wisdom. Skills consist of:
    • Acrobatics
    • History
    • Intimidation
    • Perception
    • Persuasion
    • Sleight of Hand
    • Survival
    • And much more

As one would expect, the higher your ability score or the more proficient you are in a skill, the better outcome you can get when rolling for something like a perception check.

But why is this important when looking at New Year’s resolutions?

Building Out Your Own Skills in Real Life

Main characters all have very specific skill sets. Harry Potter is really good at using the Expelliarmus charm and sneaking around with his invisibility cloak. Katniss Everdeen is strong at archery. Usagi from Sailor Moon may be a bit of a crybaby, but she’s still really great for standing up at what she believes in and working alongside her friends to rid the world of evil.

If you’re trying to live as the main character of your own life, it’s important that you work on building out the skills that you think will help you through your “quest lines,” be it progressing in your career or as simple as learning how to cook. When coming up with your resolutions, throw away the idea of “new year, new me” and start thinking about how you want to improve your current self. You’ve got great skills already – now do you either round out your character or improve your current skills? Once you decide on your main “stats” to work on, then you can start selecting what training you need to do to improve or activities that would help bump up your skill scores.

My goals for 2023 will focus on a little bit of rounding out my skills, but mostly improving what I am already doing. If I were to apply D&D skills to the resolutions I want to set for myself, there are a few of them that stick out the most. First, I might want to look at improving athletics (not so much acrobatics). After two years of not leaving the house that much, I need some good exercise to get fit and try to get rid of the extra pounds I gained while staying in! For writing, I would probably work on improving history and performance, so I can improve my storytelling in the books I write. And for my career, I’d want to improve my persuasion skill. This would enable me to more easily promote my ideas and share why they would be beneficial for the company.

In the end, comparing resolutions to adventure-like goals just makes it a bit more fun. You can even find fun apps, like Habitica, that help you gamify your goals. Perhaps it’ll make it easier to follow through, or maybe we’ll all be at the same place come December – wondering what happened to the goals we set for ourselves this year. Either way, I hope that you enjoy 2023 and that it brings you only happiness! And if you feel like sharing what D&D skills you’d like to work on this year, let me know in the comments below.

Happy New Year!


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