Face it… getting us to change our unhealthy habits and behavior is NOT easy.
Your phone can deliver a wealth of information at the click of a button. Content, reminders, and how-to’s are all right there at your fingertips. For the uninspired, that small task of querying your phone may be considered “work”, as opposed to being an “opportunity” which is worth the effort.
Thousands of developers/researchers are working hard to figure out what will motivate you. Behavioral modification techniques work well in the sales world … but not so much in the fitness space. The techniques these apps use vary widley. Rewards, penalties, being called out on social platforms and trying to entice networked users to support each other are commonplace techniques employed by these app developers to incentivize you to change.
But change is hard.
There’s still no pill, no app that solves everyone’s bad habits, and with the complexity of human psychology will likely never be one.
In the mean time, the weight loss apps, fitness games, and wearables should offer something unique for just about everyone. And the apps that remove as much friction as possible, while still inspiring users, are the most likely to succeed.
The effectiveness of these mobile apps and the techniques they employ will have more to do with the person using the app, then the app itself. A motivated individual will keep pushing while trying to achieve a goal. A motivated individual might love the tracking components of apps to assess whether or not their goals are being met. An uninspired individual will not like being told they did not hit their milestones again and again and again.
Concerns about privacy might turn off some from apps which blast your achievements, or lack thereof to their network of friends. Who wants to publicize failure? And will the aversion to sending bad news to your friends motivate you? Doubtful.
Someone searching for that magic bullet app that will motivate them to change will continue to be disappointed. Most people who download a mobile health app only use it ONCE :-(.
Are you motivated? What’s motivating you?
Do you believe the app is driving your success?