Playfully build better health habits with Health Month, a new healthy social game that starts Oct. 1st

Do you have the knowledge and desire to live healthier, but still never fit a way to put that into practice?  Do you start new good habits only to have them fall by the wayside a little later?  Waiting indefinitely for a kick-in-the-pants?

Health Month is a new social game about taking the SCIENCE of nutrition and behavior change and combining it with the SOCIAL GAMES of the recent social web to help people improve their health habits in a fun and sustainable way. 

The formula for living healthier has 4 incredients: 

  1. The information (most people have this, and we can help fill gaps)
  2. The ability (most people have this too)
  3. The motivation (who doesn’t want to be healthier, at least a little bit, right?)
  4. The fun and sustainable trigger. The reason. The self-challenge. The game.

The game that helps you live healthy, not because you have to, but because it’s fun. Fun simply motivates more than guilt, and the end result is the same.

The next game starts on October 1st, and runs through October 31st. There are currently 2,627 people signed up to play.Here’s a little story about how it works.

1) It’s personalizedMeet Ariel. Ariel wants to kick her sugar habit for good. She chooses that as one of her rules (you can choose between 1 and 50 rules – we recommend 3-5). She designs her own game, choosing habits she wants to start and kick, and determines the level of difficulty she wants to play at. If she doesn’t want to go cold turkey, she can also set moderate rules, like “Allow added sugar 3 days a week.” If sugar’s not a big deal for you and your health quest, skip that rule and work on something else. (List of all 50+ possible rules)

2) Be healthy for points. At the end of each day, Ariel reports back to the members of Health Month on how she did. She gains and loses points based on how much sugar she eats.  She gets ranked alongside others.

3) Social healing. Let’s say Ariel had a rough day at work, grabbing a Snickers on her way home. She’d lose a point for that day. When you don’t follow your own rule, you lose a life point.  But every day you do follow all of your rules, you earn fruit.  The magic of fruit is that you can use it to heal other peoples’ life points, and they eventually return the favor when you’re in need.  This social accountability and community motivates you to stick with your health plan, and allows you to get back on your feet when you fall off the wagon for a bit.

4) 1 month is 1 game.  Every game starts on the 1st of the month, and ends on the last day of the month. This allows you to prepare for the game, adapt your strategy from month to month, and play as frequently as you wish.

5) Play on teams.  You’re automatically grouped with people who are playing at about your level of difficulty. If you want to play with your significant other, friends, or coworkers, you can do that, too.  Your team gets points based on what percentage of your team members follow their rules.

6) Learn about yourself. In addition to short daily graphic reports, every month Ariel gets a report on how she did, which kinds of rules she did best at, and which could be made simpler or more difficult for more success.  This system will continue to get smarter as she plays, and as the site grows. So will Ariel.

It’s the end of the month. Ariel now has a good handle on her sugar habit (science shows it takes 21-30 days to start a new habit) and she can now continue to improve that habit, or move on to her next health challenge. She rewards herself with a camping trip (she decided on that at the beginning of the month). Thanks to Ariel’s persistence, her team did well, too, finishing in 2nd place!

You play the game as often as you like, and each month learn something new about yourself, until you’re the picture of health you’ve often dreamed you’d be.

Testimonials from beta testers who have been playing the September game:

As a proponent of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I was drawn to Health Month because it is based upon principles I see work time after time. And because of the added aspect of mild, healthy competition, I find myself going above and beyond the rules I have set. For instance, I set out to track my meals five days out of the week, but I have not missed a single day yet!
 – Margaret Mason Tate (24, Female, South Carolina)

Health Month surprised me by being the right combination of strict and lightweight. It’s quick and easy to update my profile every day, and the quantitative nature of the rules and scoring help motivate me to continue. Choosing just the right rules for myself has been an intriguing puzzle – I’m already trying to craft next month’s set to build on the momentum I’ve had. – Kate 

Some screenshots:

Who am I?

I’m Buster Benson, previous co-founder of goal-making website,, and the now closed art gallery/bar, McLeod Residence.  I currently have a 1-person company called Enjoymentland and have built a few things like the Locavore iPhone app, and  I was recently profiled on ReadWriteWeb in their new series about interesting innovators, and built Health Month as part of a 90-day challenge to myself to go from zero-to-profitable-product. It succeeded.

Free signups to give away to your readers:

I’m willing to set up a team for you, and give you 50 free signups to give away to your readers if you like.  Just let me know that you’d like that and I’ll send you more info.

Thank you for your time and energy!

Buster Benson

Twitter: @busterbenson
Skype: busterbenson