SuperBetter: What even is willpower?

Imagine that any aspect of your habits or thinking could be rewired with enough practice. What would you change or rewire? Why?  There are worse things than signing up for games to conduct research. I'm actually a little at a loss as to how I got here.

Like a link of chain somewhere in the last hour, I started reading up on companies developing indigenous games that were also educational. This led to a general search on TED talks that intersected education with games and segued to Jane McGonigal introducing the game SuperBetter: her unique gamer's response to recovering from a debilitating injury.

I was skeptical and just a little bored in the first two minutes (Gen Y conditioning, you have not been kind to me), but by the end of twenty, she's treated to a standing ovation. I wager that it's warranted. So warranted that I looked up SuperBetter and couldn't help thinking about how many people I know who could benefit from this, and signed up to demo it myself. Far be it for me to recommend something I haven't tried.

SuperBetter, is an online social game designed to build personal resilience in the face of a serious challenge — like an illness or injury, anxiety or depression. SuperBetter can also be used to make a major health change, like losing weight, quitting smoking, or eating better. Our design draws on research-backed wisdom from the fields of neuroscience, positive psychology, and medicine. We collaborate with scientists, medical doctors, and university researchers, as well as thought leaders and philosophers tackling what it means to be human in the twenty-first century. By bringing together science and wisdom with innovative technology and design, we’re exploring how we can flourish best and achieve our full human potential — individually, and collectively.

And here we are, blogging to fulfill my first quest of the day. Because what's the worst that could happen if my self-selected quest to improve willpower actually works?

If I could change any aspect of my habits, I would not take so long to get out of bed in the morning. I would not hit 'snooze' on my alarm more than once, if at all.

I know the research. I know that sleeping in any longer than an hour past your regular wake-up time can offset your entire rhythm for the day. I know that you may not feel it immediately but, like the afterburn of a workout, you'll definitely limp for it two days later. There is no such thing as 'making up for sleep debt'.

And still, I sleep in until at least 9am on weekends after rising at 5am during the week. By Monday, I am paying for it. By Friday, I am almost recovered and back to my regular cycle. And on Saturday morning, it breaks all over again. As a result, I always feel like I'm running on three-quarters of a tank at best.

Breaking routine is physically tiring, counter-productive, and makes me frustrated. I would like to be less frustrated with myself and still accomplish the majority of my to-do list. I definitely think this is do-able.

There you go, Jane. There I go, Me. The first quest is accomplished.

Now for a celebratory dance break.