You know the little star stickers we used to get on our charts in pre-school? Maybe it was for completing a task like tying our shoes or writing our name. Didn’t it feel good to get those stickers? What about when you got older? Anyone ever do the “Book It!” program? Reading books equaled free Pizza Hut pizza and it was worth every minute of sounding out those words.
There were lots of incentives to press through challenges when we were younger, but not so much as we age. But just because we’re older doesn’t mean our reaction to reward has changed. Health Rally knows this and has created an inspiring program for achieving health goals with the dangling carrot of reward as the incentive.
Zach Lynch founded Health Rally, an online support network, based on a pretty amazing statistic. According to a study in the journal American Medical Association, dieters with a financial incentive to lose weight were almost five times more likely to lose weight than those with no reward incentive. Furthermore, participants in this study who received financial rewards lost more than 13 pounds in 16 weeks, compared to an average loss of only 3.9 pounds in the control group.
Based on those findings, Health Rally has created a place for individuals to state their goal publicly, post their desired reward, and offer friends and family the opportunity to support them by pledging financial backing toward that reward. An example may be, “lose 20 pounds by September 1 for a $150 pair of skinny jeans.” Once the measurable goal is posted, friends and family can rally around to offer financial and moral support.
These same principles can be applied to all sorts of health goals like quitting smoking or training for a race. The rewards seems to be the trick as founder Zack Lynch says, “We’ve seen success rates for people losing weight that are 300 percent higher than when no financial incentives are pledged.”
Currently, the site only allows for rewards that are backed by family and friends, however, Lynch explained that the company is talking with brands and employers about providing additional rewards in addition to what friends and family provide. So, even one with a smaller influence group stands to gain rewards.
The program is available online, and a mobile app is currently in development and should be ready by the end of the year.
Clearly we’ve outgrown stickers and free personal pan pizzas. But just earning a virtual badge may not be enough for many of us. If I can get a new pair of Sperrys by telling the late-night munchie monster to shut up, then sign me up! So, who wants to back that goal for me?