How A Group Of Animals Can Help You Achieve Your Goals
A look into Animal Crossing: New Horizons and it’s abilities to help you set goals, work towards them, and achieve them.
After years of not buying any of Nintendo’s products, I bought a Switch and soon downloaded myself a copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
This was a game many Animal Crossing fans had anticipated for a while and I can see why having dived into the game for the past few weeks. I’ve already expanded my house four times and I’m half-way to expanding it a fifth time.
I’d be there by now, but I’ve been prioritizing building bridges, getting a few more villagers, and beautifying the island.
All of this was a stark comparison to when I was first exposed to Animal Crossing over a decade ago. My friend had the Game Cube copy and I played it a little bit.
At the time, I wasn’t all that interested or excited about it. But New Horizons is something I am keen on playing and have plenty of excitement for. Despite angry players review bombing the game, this is a game I am thoroughly enjoying for many reasons.
First of which is that there are many real-life applications to this game.
When I first started playing Animal Crossing, there was a goal system.
In the Game Cube version, you had the overarching goal of paying your house loans from the tanuki Tom Nook.
Outside of that, the player had to create their own goals like collecting all the bugs or fish or getting all the furniture of a certain set.
In the most recent version, you still have the overarching goal of paying off your house loans and the other goals. But how the game presented these goals is more direct.
And it’s a good step forward for many reasons.
People Need Markers
One of the biggest pitfalls with Animal Crossing in the past was there was a significant lack of markers. When it comes to goal setting, markers are your milestones and encourage you to reflect on your progress.
For example, if you want to be losing 10 pounds in a month, a good milestone is checking if you’ve lost 5 pounds by week two of four.
The Game Cube version — the one I have the most recollection of and will be using in this piece — lacked this. Yes, there were the housing loans you had to pay off but anything else outside of that was up to the player.
If you wanted to catch all the bugs or fish, you had to make it your goal and use the Criterpedia to check if you caught that bug or not.
New Horizons has mainstreamed this by adding little markers by telling the player to catch five fishes/bugs or to get a certain type of fish/bug. Mind you in the latter one it’s a fish or bug you already caught, but you could catch new bugs or fishes in the process of getting the one to meet that objective.
The idea of markers works so well because it gives the player something to aspire for. When thinking back to my experiences on the Game Cube, I didn’t feel excited about Animal Crossing. Maybe it was my taste in gaming at the time or something else.
If it was something else I could chalk it up to not having those markers. I had the most obvious goal of paying my house off. But then would come the big question:
And that question is a tough one to answer in the previous Animal Crossing games and in real life.
With New Horizons, you constantly have these small goals that you can work towards.
The Small Goals Lead To Larger Goals
If you’ve read any of my posts on goals, I’ve talked about how important it is to have small goals leading to larger ones. In New Horizons, the small goals provide micro steps towards a larger goal, but also they qualify for multiple goals.
For example, catching the fish and bugs is a minor goal but leads to larger goals like catching unique species of bugs or fishes, catching them in general. Those larger goals are exceedingly high in the second half with you having to catch 500 and higher fish or bugs in total.
There’s also a challenging fishing goal where you need to catch 100 fish in a row without failing.
These are goals that aren’t meant to be done in a single sitting and that plays along well with life too. When we achieve a goal it’ll take us weeks or even months for us to reach our objective.
But no matter the time difference, the principles that New Horizons provides still apply. In order to reach those larger goals, you have to apply principles. A system.
Within my first week, I caught 100 fish in a row. My system? I told myself to start breathing more and to relax. I did this because I found myself tensing up every time I went fishing.
While that’s a simple thing, I can apply a more intricate system with things around my life. And it’s all thanks to having those smaller goals leading to larger ones.
They Provide Rewards And Satisfaction
One of the new mechanics to Animal Crossing and to New Horizons is Nook Miles. Canadians can think of them as very generous Air Miles. I don’t know if Americans have such a system.
Anyway, this is another in-game currency that is awarded every time you complete tasks. The small tasks earn you between 100 to 400 depending on the difficulty. The larger ones earn you exceedingly more as they take longer to complete.
Regardless, each one provides rewards that are satisfactory.
The big ones get you excited to see what the next objective is (since future targets are hidden until you complete the current one) and give you a lot of Nook Miles that you can readily spend.
On the other hand, while the small ones don’t provide you with as many Nook Miles, you know that these are bringing you closer to those larger targets one way or another.
The small steps are also enough to keep you around to play. From all the small actions you do, you can quickly gather enough points to travel to different islands to gather more resources and progress further on other goals.
Lately, I’ve been jumping to other islands to pillage for resources. I then use those resources to craft furniture which I can turn around to sell. The money earned brings me closer to more infrastructure for the island.
And if that’s not enough, there is also the “story” aspect of New Horizons that provides bigger goals. Right now I’m at the part where I do need to flesh out the island more and bring more animals into the island.
This pushes me to spend hundreds of thousands on bridges for smooth navigation, and housing lots. All in order for the island to gain popularity.
Once popularity increases I’ll get the satisfaction of having a concert and the opportunity to create paths amongst other perks.
The beauty of this game is that no matter how small the task is, it leads to a broader picture. Our own personal goals aren’t that different.
Working out every day leads to future weight loss and more strength to do the things we want to do. Whether that’s running a marathon or doing rock climbing or something else.
One goal can lead to several achievements.
They Give You Something To Care About
While my experiences with the Game Cube version is limited, one feature I love is the ceremonies. Every time you complete a building — like a store or a bridge — you have the opportunity to celebrate it.
Why this is amazing is that it gives you a deep reason to care.
Ever since the beginning of the game, the game drives home the fact this is your island. The people that you meet along the way grow with you as you are led through a story of sorts.
The other animal inhabitants are there for the ride but they also have personality and you can create your own lore around them. You kind of have to considering the animals themselves have one of eight static personality types.
Talking with them allows you to deepen your bond with them and share wonderful moments with them. The pinnacle is everyone gathering together to celebrate your achievements whether it’s a building or a bridge.
All of this is similar to our reality where we won’t feel motivated to complete our goals unless we care for what we are striving for. If we don’t care, you end up thinking like me when playing the Game Cube version of Animal Crossing.
You lose sight of what to work towards and you feel there’s no point in progressing any further.
New Horizons Is For Everyone
Even if you’re not that much into video games, I would consider this one to be a great step. It has a balance of reality and fiction and can pass along valuable lessons when it comes to goals and achieving them.
Because of this game, it can guide you towards a fluent process for setting goals and achieving them in a timely manner. Sure the goals in the game can take only a handful of days to complete compared to reality taking weeks and months.
But the lessons that are passed down from the game are still relevant. It’s worth picking up a copy if you can.