Three apps for keeping your 2012 health resolutions
Let’s face it. In our heads, we know we need to change our behavior in order to see positive results in our metrics. But changing our habits and creating new ones is just plain hard. There comes a point when you’ve gathered all the data, you’ve internalized it and truly understand the meaning of your metrics, and now it’s just about making the change. And change, specifically in behavior that affects our health and fitness is hard!
There’s where the principles of competition and reward come into play. The health industry is a popular sector for start ups right now (check out this TechCrunch article for more about health start-ups). There’s a huge opportunity for companies who can develop applications that provide people with the motivation, feedback, and reward that’s required to change their habits. Here are three health start ups who want to help you keep your fitness resolutions in 2012 and beyond.
Gym-Pact: Incentivize your health
Combining the popular location based check-in with both reward and consequence, Gym-Pact hopes to get you to the gym and help you keep going back. The idea is simple, far too many people have gym memberships that they don’t use, so why not incentivize people with cash. Gym-Pact is an mobile phone app. First, you set your pact. This means that you say how many times you’ll go to the gym and how much money you’ll pay per day that you don’t go to the gym. Then, every time you go to the gym, you check-in to the app (and you have to stay for 30 minutes). At the end of the week, the money from everyone who didn’t meet their pact is divided amongst the people who did meet their pact. Does it work? The Gym-Pact website claims that they had a 90% success rate in their Boston pilot program to help people go to the gym more.
Keas: The future of corporate wellness
Dedicated to helping employees be happier, healthier, and more productive, Keas has developed a game that leverages your existing social relationships to help you support each other and achieve goals together. Each week, players choose three goals for themselves. Points are accumulated as you accomplish your goals. If your company is a part of the program, you can get more tangible rewards – such as cash. According to an interview with Tech Crunch TV, Keas is already being used by over 100 companies, each of whom has approximately 1,000 people enrolled in the program. What’s fascinating about Keas is what founder Adam Bosworth (former Google exec) calls the influence of “social obligation”. When people are put on a team and have some individual as well as common goals, something happens where people depend on each which leads to a positive pressure and obligation to not let the team down. This is key to the amazing engagement that Keas is seeing where 30% – 40% of users post every week or more.
Quitter: Helping you stop your bad habits
We all have bad habits that we wish we could kick. But, it’s hard. Whether it’s smoking or drinking fancy coffees or eating out too much, Quitter will help you stop once and for all. The premise of Quitter is simple – show people how long they’ve gone without their habit and how much money they’ve saved. That’s it! And turns out, it works. These two simple metrics are enough to help a lot of people overcome habits that they’ve previously been unsuccessful at managing. By seeing the real-time benefits of quitting the habit, people have the constant feedback they need to keep going.