When you’re part of a program you like to know that it’s having a positive impact. At least, that’s how I feel personally. When I first joined the GoGet.Fit team I thought mostly about the opportunities of the job, and less thought was put towards the impact this program could have. As time went on, I realized that we’re helping people to build their self-efficacy toward being active, thereby improving the likelihood of their being successful in their pursuit to become, and remain active as part of their life.
I realized the impact of the GoGet.Fit platform from the outcomes of a recent pilot. Our platform was piloted at Red Deer Regional Hospital, unit 22, to establish its effect on patients when they headed home. Patients admitted to the unit were introduced to the GoGet.Fit mobile app, enrolled and started practicing daily - just scheduling and placing their exercise shoes on their feet. The act of scheduling and then putting the shoes on their feet, that was the bare minimum. They could then take their shoes for a walk (while on their feet) if so inclined.
The goal was to create an opportunity to overcome one of the greatest barriers to success when individual’s start a new habit: that is, the challenge with “scheduling”. A low “scheduling self-efficacy for exercise” (simply defined as, “I will do it later in the week…” but it is not specifically scheduled as to the exact time, or if something else comes up it is skipped) is one of the major contributors to feeling defeated in spite of the best intentions and then quitting. Even though the intent and desire to start is there, but it’s the lack of scheduling that’s the greatest hurdle to getting started.
Before we get to the results, let’s go over the facts.
1. Generally, after a life-threatening experience such as a heart attack (or another health-issue related to modifiable lifestyle factors) or a new diagnosis of a disease, the experience is normalized in the individual’s mind after only a short period of time. This means that they will return to their life as it was before said experience, with for example, the memory of their hospital visit being simply that, a memory. The time to get them invested in building new habits is ASAP.
2. Despite the best information, provided with the best intentions by hospital staff, without encouragement, remote support and improved scheduling self-efficacy, less than 10% of patients will see success at changing to a healthier long-term lifestyle, thereby avoiding future instances related to modifiable lifestyle disease impacts.
3. Without these changes they can expect to end up in the same hospital beds sooner than necessary.
When scheduling self-efficacy is high, a person will make their appointments that they deem important. A lack of scheduling self-efficacy for exercise is often at the root of why individuals fail to develop desired lifestyle changes. They are committed to the importance of the new behaviour, but neglect to commit to a time to execute it. The result after a series of missed workouts is commonly the quitting, with comments like, “I tried, but…”
The Red Deer pilot was a success. After a short period of in hospital time, starting the scheduling habit in hospital, 44% of our users remained active after discharge. And they are successfully continuing down the road of a more active lifestyle.
Even though this is a 400% improvement over reported outcomes from the literature in this pilot, we know we can do better. We know that scheduling self-efficacy for exercise is the cornerstone of success. It can’t be over-emphasized how important scheduling the upcoming week’s activities before they happen is. All indications are that through the use of the GoGet.Fit platform we have a tool that builds healthier lifestyles.