For any action to become a habit, repetition is required for it to stick. This process is exemplified in the meditation app, Calm. The app was created to help people build a meditation practice. Users loved it, at first. There was a problem: retention remained low. The makers of Calm decided to explore their data regarding user behaviour. They were looking for patterns to explain user attrition. One point was clear, users who took pains to “schedule” a daily reminder stayed engaged with the app.
The Calm team saw a 300% increase in retention by simply prompting users to schedule their intended action. Our experience at GoGet.Fit is right in line with these observations. Those who schedule their workouts consistently continue to be active. (Dropping off from scheduling is an important flag of potential problems.)
In designing the GoGet.Fit habit-forming experience we considered a variety of obstacles that prevent people from engaging in regular physical activity. One fact was quite sobering. 80% of the motivated individuals who seriously commit to getting active end up abandoning their goals after only 2 months!
Knowing this we had one focus: build the best behavioural supports to keep users engaged long enough for a habit to establish roots. Those who scheduled remained engaged, not perfectly, but they remained active.
Initially focusing on anything other than scheduling leaves no foundation from which to build a habit.
Intent and the habit of intent (to schedule) is a full day’s march away from failure. Once users have scheduled their workouts, GoGet.Fit automation is activated. Notifications of a coming workout are sent. Completed workouts are acknowledged. Notifications to reschedule missed workouts will be sent. And the details regarding your client’s adherence level can be seen in the Pro Portal on a weekly basis. All this happens when users schedule their workouts.
To summarize, the best way to introduce a new user to GoGet.Fit:
1. Have the client schedule a workout.
2. Explain the value of “scheduling the whole week.”
3. Have the client schedule a second workout. (Repetition builds habits!!)
Why so much emphasis on the action to schedule?
Scheduling implies intent. A scheduled workout commands attention. Scheduling activates the automated features of the GoGet.Fit app. When clients don’t schedule workouts, this is usually an early marker of the fact that they are struggling.
Therefore, initially focus on the action to schedule, a habit that clearly requires little effort in contrast to the physical act of getting out to exercise. Scheduling is the switch that subsequently warms up the mind to exercise, the momentum that then commands the body to just get on with it. It is the important first piece in early habit development, the weak link that is commonly overlooked.
My advice to all professionals, just get the users comfortable scheduling and a lot of the other pieces to habit formation fall into place.