inside shape up the nation: end of round 4

April 7, 2011

in reviews: products, services, books

this post is part of a series of reports on my experience with a client’s 10-week shape up the nation team challenge. shape up the nation is an online, social employee wellness solution. i don’t consult with my client on this strategy or provide any communications support, so it’s strictly unbiased, experience-based reporting.

look at me. dang. i shot past my goal and my team and the average participant’s weekly steps.


i could go back to my original goal, which if anyone remembers, was far more aggressive. i recalibrated two weeks into the program after falling far, far short of it. but nobody’s pushing me, and i lack that crucial quantified-self drive, so meh. i’m resting on my laurels.

funny thing is, even as i nonchalantly write off the idea of achieving my intended glory, i don’t feel terrific about what i see. i look at my trajectory and know that my earlier goal was greater. by this chart, i’m a rock star. in my head, i’m rebecca black.

that brings me back to appropriate goal-setting. i tested philips directlife a year ago, and i like their approach. as a new user, you walk around with the device for a week, tracking your normal activity to create a baseline. the system then suggests an initial activity goal: a 10% increase, a 20% one. you’re prompted to increase your goal again after successfully maintaining a certain activity level. this nudge keeps you moving along a positive path based on personal, practical baby steps. in my case, it outsmarts and challenges my lazy self. i’d like to see shape up the nation provide similar guidance.

i asked rajiv kumar, shape up the nation co-founder and chief clinical officer, about this, and he responded, “great idea. we’re working on an app called ‘guided plans’ that will run on our platform. it will allow people to select certain goals like run a 5k race or lose 5 pounds in 5 weeks. the app will generate a personalized weekly plan that starts off basic and gradually increases in intensity, guiding and motivating the individual along the journey toward meeting their goal. we’re piloting a ‘couch to 5K’ guided plan right now with about 500 individuals, and the early results are positive.”

i’m uncomfortably carrying my guilt and glee with one more round to go. maybe i’ll kick it up a notch. BAM!




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