Here is an interesting story on how apps use a positive feedback loop to influence our habits. Of course the same process can be used on ourselves. The basic loop is trigger, action, variable reward, and investment.
Trigger) Reminders, app like the way of life, a scale or a hundred other things can be the trigger – this seems easy.
Action) The action is seems straight forward – the work. Write the pages of the book, do the pushups or what ever the work is. This to me seems the whole focus – get me to do the work.
Variable reward) The variable reward has been talked about for a while. This is trickier a lot of times. In busuu, a language training app I am using, they have added ‘berries’ as the reward. I’ve used if for quite a while and it appears that it’s just a way to keep score. This has some motivating aspect but not much.
This is a challenge area for me as often I don’t have real rewards beyond the little green icon on list of things to do. Not much of a motivator and not variable. In fact now that I think about it the avoiding the red icons is almost a bigger drive. Maybe just adding green only will be a better motivator. When I know there will be a lot of red I seem to avoid the process.
I will spend some time today looking at motivating variable rewards. Maybe a trip to Venezuela with toilet paper as soon as I am able to get things done and survive in Spanish – that would be big enough. Not variable though and not habit forming in the shorter term . . .
Investment) This seems like another form of doing the work. Somehow it is a different type of work though. . . maybe more for facebook type app addictions then habit improvements. I’ll read hi book and see.
That reminds me of the book Give and Take I am reading – maybe there is away to helps others that would help alter my habits? Things to think about/
For more on this explained better Nir’s blog is here.