Thursday, December 17, 2015

How to Trick Yourself into Healthy Living: Plant Nanny

This is going to sound like an advertisement, so forgive me.

Getting someone to do something is probably the most challenging enterprise by any organization. Whether it is an advertising company, business, or often in my former field, a health endeavor, customer acquisition of whatever action you want people to do is difficult.

For example, the benefits of staying hydrated.
Drinking enough water yields benefits from proper circulation of nutrients through the body to preventing colon and bladder cancer by 45-50%. In a developed nation like the United States, where a clean source of water is right at your kitchen, there is no reason not to be hydrated.

Yet, how many of glasses of water have you drank today? Based on your body weight now, do you know if you are drinking the required amount?

Knowing what you should do and actually do end up doing are two separate things. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised by Plant Nanny.
Plant Nanny is a free app you can download for either the Android or Apple. Its premise is that you are given a virtual plant buddy that grows based on the amount of water you consume throughout the day. Drink a glass of water, tap a button, and both you and your buddy are happy. That's it. A virtual reminder to drink water.

After downloading the application, you provide your body weight and the app determines the amount of water you should drink in milliliters or fluid ounces depending on your preference of measurement. I chose milliliters just because that's what I notice when purchasing bottled water.

Next, you choose your plant, there are plenty of free options to choose from, most of them are free. I chose an a dandelion because I missed Spring season in NJ.

Next, Plant Nanny measures out the portions you choose to drink, such as a water bottle (500 ml) or a glass of water (200 ml)

Now, based on the portions of water you pick, the app counts how many times you''d need to drink that size for the rest of the day. For example, my 500 ml water bottle will require six feedings versus my glass of water which will be 11. Because there are multiple containers, you can mix and match and the app will calculate for you. No need to measure out exact milliliters.

The next step is what ties it together. Every time I drink a glass of water in real life, I press a button on the glass in the app and my Dandelion is fed.

Within the first day, I drank double the water I would have normally and the app would offer helpful tips of encouragement. By the end of the day, my plant evolved a level and grew just like a plant with two adorable eyes and no patience would. Helping myself was represented by the virtual avatar.
While I could be tempted to cheat and just keep on pressing the
button. There is no greater reward to do so. Like a running app, I use the app for the express purpose of drinking water. The cute User Interface just gives me an evolving reminder without making that the express reason for the application.

So, what does Plant Nanny teach about successful application interface in behavior change?

1. It has one clear and attainable goal: People want to drink water and have the capacity to do so.
2. It's easy and informative: Download an application, give your weight, drink water and it will be representative of the virtual plant.
3. People feel responsible for other beings: Guilty admission, I found out about Plant Nanny because I looked up "Tamagatchi" on the app store. Having something to take care of made me want to please it by helping myself.
4. It's incentive doesn't get in the way of the outcome. I am likely to drink water out of guilt for the plant's growth, but I don't see the purpose of artificially growing my plant. The outcome will always be my health.

I am curious to see what your thoughts are on this type of interface. For starters, what would you call this style of behavior change in applications? Let me know if there are other apps like this. And if you do use this app let me know if it has helped and if it has lasted beyond the novelty!



    Does what a man thinks alter the fact of a man's salvation?

    Can a man say that he believes that Jesus is the Son God and then say, however, I do not think that it is essential for my salvation? Can that kind of thinking save anyone? (John 8:24 'Therefore I say to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.")

    Is it possible for someone to assert they they were baptized in water and say, however, I do not think it was essential for me to be saved? Can that kind of thinking save anyone? (Mark 16:16 He who has believed and been baptized shall be saved...)

    Is is plausible that a person can profess that they believe the God raised Jesus from the grave and then say, however, I do not think it is essential to believe that, in order to be saved? Can that kind of thinking save you? (Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.)



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