Let us be your Health Month buddy!

Update: Thank you to everyone who applied!  We’ve randomly selected our batch for this month but really really enjoyed reading all of the applications and are hoping to open it up to more of you in the next month or so! 

Is this your first time playing Health Month?  Are you skeptical that you’ll be able to make any sustainable health changes with it?  Are you a multi-month veteran, but thinking about upping your game in September? Have a really tough (for you) rule? If any of these things are true, we need your help! 

Team Habit Labs is looking for 4-8 people who’d like a little direct, personal attention for the month of September.   We’re testing a new product in a VERY limited way… to see if personal accountability plays a role in helping people make the changes that they want to make.

So this month: we’ll be your personal buddy that does everything we can to help you survive the month in the best possible way. Your assigned buddy will be asking you a few questions at the beginning of the month, checking in with you daily or weekly, and then following up afterwards. 

Each member of Team Habit Labs (Buster, Jen, Scott and Amelia) will be picking out 1 or 2 lucky guinea pigs from the pool that applies. We’re going to get invested in helping you achieve the goals you want. (There may or may not be some friendly office competition to see who coaches the best.) If you don’t get in this time, you’ll definitely be first in line for the next wider round that happens next month.

If you want to apply, send an email to team@habitlabs.com with the following info:

  1. Your name
  2. Your Health Month username (make sure you have your rules picked out for September already)
  3. Your story: What is the most challenging part of the rules you picked for yourself in September?  
  4. Something awesomesauce about you

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Come and get it! Private rules and more custom rules!

Happy Monday, friendly Health Monthers!  Are you ready for September?  To help, we’re launching a couple great new features today that I think you’ll like.

For a long time, the most requested feature on our UserVoice Forum has been the lack of more than one ‘custom’ rule.

Until now, we’ve allowed 1 custom DO rule and 1 custom DON’T rule. We’ve always kept an eye on what the most common custom rules have been, and incorporated the ones that seem popular enough to be turned into official rules.  For many, however, that has not been enough.

A few examples of cool custom rules our players have created:

  1. Limit shots on school nights
  2. Limit plucking hairs from my beard to 5 days a week
  3. Work on BFF’s birthday present at least 2 days a week
  4. Limit devices in bed to 2 days a week
  5. Do some hula-hooping at least 1 day a week

A couple of those could turn into official rules.  🙂

You can now have 5 custom rules!

In any case, because there are thousands of variations of these and we’ll probably never be able to catalog every single behavior change in existence (though wouldn’t that be awesome if we could), we are upping the number of custom rules available from 2 to 5!  Effective immediately.  Not only that, but there are now some variations on the custom rules so you can also specify number of times per week (up to 70) and number of minutes per day instead of just number of days per week.

To create your own custom rules, just select the new “Custom” filter from the page where you choose your rules.

The other interesting thing we’ve noticed with these custom rules is that there are a lot of “You know what to do 4 days a week” and “Do that super secret thing (wink wink) every day”.  It turns out that custom rules also take us into the wonderful world of behaviors that might be a little too private to share with everyone all the time.

You can now make your rules private!

There’s a new checkbox when you’re designing your rule to make it private.  People will still be able to see that you HAVE a private rule, and whether or not you do it as often as you’d like to do it, but they won’t be able to see what that private rule actually is.  Here’s what the box looks like:

When someone looks at your profile, they’ll see this:

But when you look at your own profile page, or at your own scorecard page, you’ll see the rule in its full glory.

Pretty simple, right?  The stipulation is that private rules require that you pay the $5/month or have a membership.  But, to celebrate the launch of this feature, we’ve gone ahead and given everyone who signed up before today a free game in September as well as 3 sponsorship chips to give away to friends.  

What are you waiting for?  Go kick the tires and let us know what you think.

A couple small features to streamline your Health Month turns

I’ve spent the last bit of time refactoring Health Month behind the scenes.  You shouldn’t see too many big changes on the site, but here are a couple of small features I couldn’t help but squeeze into this update:

  1. You will now only be asked to spin the Wild Wheel if you are up to date on your turns.  In other words, if you’re 2 days behind, or a week behind, you won’t have to spin the wheel for each day.  
  2. If you’re more than a day or two behind, instead of taking you to your report page after each scorecard is filled out, we’ll just move you to the next day so you can fill in a bunch of days without losing your flow.
  3. Those of you who were having trouble following more than 100ish people should now be able to follow up to 150.  

Two more bigger features will be hitting the site in the next week or so.  Very excited to get them out there, as they’re a couple of our most requested features.

Company news!

Hello!

Today we’re happy to announce that we’re merging Health Month, Inc with Jen McCabe’s Contagion Health and now we’re called Habit Labs!  Learn more here (secret prize inside if you click through).

All this means for you Health Month users is that we’re now able to start growing the team (we’ve hired our first 2 people and are looking for more as we speak).  That mobile app that we’ve been promising for months is in development (and has evolved quite a bit), and has become something that we’re actually REALLY excited about.  

We should have more to say about this, and what it means for Health Month exactly, in a month or so. Until then, good luck with your games!

Health Month hearts Fitbit

Fitbit

I’ve been a fan of the stylish Fitbit since before it was born, stalking the blog where the founders talked about building a little gadget from scratch, and I believe I pre-ordered one well over a year before it was available.

Their little pedometer is actually fun to carry around, and whenever I show it to someone they’re like “Oooh, I want one!” Who knows how many I’ve sold that way.

I have been interested in integrating the walking data into Health Month for a long time, and I’m finally able to say that it’s live!  Here’s what you need to do.

Step oneGET A FITBIT! $99, free shipping, coolest little gadget ever.

Step two. Link up your Fitbit to Health Month from your “Edit Account” page.

Step three. Add either the “Walk” rule or the “Walk X Steps” rule to your next month’s rules.

Step four. There is no step four!  From then on, when you fill out your activities for the month, it will automatically fill in your information based on your Fitbit activity. Like so:

Pretty neat, right?

Please give it a shot, let me know what you think about it.  I’ve also got a Health Month group over on the Fitbit website if you want to try out some reverse integration as well. 

As you can tell, I have a bit of a crush on the Fitbit team.  I figure, any company that’s trying to make being healthy a little more fun is a friend of mine.

Woah! 11 new rules!

I haven’t added any new rules recently, so I thought I’d go through the Uservoice Forums and the list of popular “custom rules” to find those that keep popping up. 

As people start planning their March rules, I’ve added 11 new rules for you to pick from:

  1. Wake up before X o’clock
  2. Walk your dog!
  3. Do yoga
  4. Stretch
  5. Do your household chores
  6. Walk at least X steps a day (this will soon have Fitbit integration!)
  7. Track your dreams
  8. Track your spending
  9. No fruit (the only 4-hour Body “Slow Carb” rule that wasn’t already in the system)
  10. No snacking (a “No S Diet” rule that wasn’t already in the system)
  11. No seconds (another “No S Diet” rule that wasn’t in the system)

Let me know what you think of these new rules, and if you think there are any other new rules you’d like to see.

What are your rules going to be for March?  Start choosing them now!

New feature: import your rules to new months with the Rule Wizard

New feature!  See that yellow box on the “Choose your rules” page?  It will now be available for anyone who’s played more than one month, and will help you easily import previous rules to the next month, improving them at the same time.

Here’s an example of how it will look:

The design’s a little rough at the moment, but the basic functionality is there.  I am open to ideas on how to improve the experience, make it more useful, more fun, smarter, happier, etc.

This is a feature that’s been requested by users literally 3.8 MILLION times.  Literally.  The reason it has taken me so long to build it is because I didn’t want to just build a basic importer… Health Month is all about getting smarter every month.  And that required a little bit of thought about how exactly one could learn from one’s rules. 

Since I know which rules you’re interested in working on, and how well you did in previous months, it’s possible to recommend the smallest possible improvement along the way towards those goals.  One of the things that sets Health Month apart from most goal-making and behavior-change sites, in my opinion, is its ability to help people tread that normally confusing, momentum-losing, world of moderation.  Be moderate!  And know that you’re making progress in moderation.  Change is hard, small steps are absolutely necessary.  Give yourself a bit of a break and celebrate the small steps.