Rare Candy makes habit and skills tracking fun
A Rare Candy can be used to level up a Pokémon by one level (in the many forms of the Nintendo DS Pokémon series). The Rare Candy App, US$1.99 (free trial version available) and designed for iPhone 5 and up and iOS 7 and up, can be used to level up your own skills by many levels. There are many apps that help you build healthy habits and encourage you to follow your dreams. Rare Candy takes a novel, and fun approach: by treating it like a role playing game (RPG) encouraging you to practice your skills so that you can level up. This leveling up provides motivation and some in-game currency that you can use to purchase new classes of heroes and new equipment to give them. For now, I am just Albereth, the lowly peasant until I earn more coins. But one day, I may become Albereth the Ranger, Knight, Cleric, or Warlock.
When you first run Rare Candy, you are encouraged to create both skills you wish to develop and daily habits you wish to build. When you create skills, you do not have to start at the beginning. For example, I want to improve as a photographer but I've been taking pictures for over 30 years. So, I put in 1000 hours when I created that particular skill and automatically leveled up to level 52 and gained the title "Sage Photographer." How flattering. With Acting, I've done that even more and am a "Guru" with that skill. My guitar playing, alas, is nowhere near as developed and I am still a novice.
To level up in your skills, navigate to them in the app and tap the "Start Practicing" button. This begins a timer that runs until you stop it. The app helpfully provides ways for you to increase or decrease the time so if you forget, you can add time. If you forget to stop the timer, you can subtract time. And over time you can watch yourself improve in your chosen skill.
Daily habits are somewhat different. In many RPGs, your character has health (decreased as you are injured, increased as you heal) and mana (decreased as you use magic, increased as your rest). Rare Candy uses these tropes but slightly differently. Health dailies are habits that have to do with your physical health. Mana dailies are habits that have to do with your mind and intellect. So, going to the gym would be a health habit and reading a book would be a mana habit. Unlike skills, these are not leveled. You just check them off each day you do them and build up streaks.
As a tool to encourage skills development, Rare Candy is a lot of fun and I enjoy using it to push myself forward. It would be even more fun if I could compete against friends who are learning the same or similar skills or even just share what I am doing. As a daily habit tracker, it falls a bit short. Not all habits are not necessarily daily. Some people strive to hit the gym 4 days a week and should get rewarded for achieving that goal.
All in all, I love the concept and think that Rare Candy is a lot of fun. If it had more flexibility in tracking daily habits, then it'd be just about perfect for my own needs. There is a free version so you can easily test it out and see if it meets your needs.
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