Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Using Digital to Achieve New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year avid Treffpunkt readers!

With every New Year's Day passing it seems like there are more and more offerings for people trying to achieve some sort of New Year's Resolution.  Usually I try and stay away, but this year I am starting 2014 with fitness in mind - even if that means falling into potential New Year's Resolutions deals, tricks or fads.  Feeling like I've tried everything, from hot yoga to 5am spin classes, this time I want to take a different approach, a digital one.

Being the millennial that I am, my first instinct was to look for a digital tool to try help this process. What I needed was a tool that would 1. Help me change some of my unhealthy habits and 2. Actually motivate me or hold me accountable to acting on this change.

After a little bit of search I found the app Pact. This free app aims at helping people to change their habits in the areas of getting to the gym, food logging and eating healthily.  The way that this fitness app differentiates itself from the other fitness tracking apps out there is that it forces users to put their money where their mouth is! Pact uses cash incentives for users to get in shape and stay healthy.

Basically how the app works is by committing to a weekly Pact to exercise more or eat healthier and set what you'll pay other Pact members if you don't reach it.  However, this is not just a diary that you can fudge what you actually did that day and reap monetary rewards; you actually have to show that you have achieved each of your goals by checking in through the app at the gym or sending pictures of the healthy food you are eating.  Then at the end of the week once you have successfully completed your goals you earn actual cash for being healthy, paid by the members that could not reach their goals.

A screenshot from my own Pact app

On a personal level I found this app compelling because I am super competitive, looking to get into shape and have yet to try a monetary incentive to get me going to the gym regularly. Barring the fitness/money related reasons, there are a number of other reasons why I really like this app.
  1. Pact is taking a new and creative approach at a product that has been done over and over again and creating a niche for itself.
  2. Instead of try to be better than it's competitors, Pact uses it's competition successes to enhance the Pact experience.
    1. This can be seen through the option to sync with other fitness tracker apps, such as RunKeeper, Fitbit, Moves or Jawbone Up.
  3. Pact incorporates social without annoying any of your friends on Twitter or Facebook.
    1. Part of the reason users need to take pictures of their healthy foods is to prove that they are fulfilling that part of the Pact. But members can get ideas and engage with others that are eating right from the Pact community social stream.
While I cannot personally say if this app is a long term motivator just yet, I can say that Pact drew me in with their interesting incentives and - as far as I can tell - a well designed app.  I will report back with any groundbreaking news, but in the mean time Happy New Year and good luck with all of your resolutions!


  1. Katie this is awesome! I've seen a bunch of alarms that make you pay each time you snooze but never a fitness tracker.

    You've gotta keep posting every now and then about your experience with the app.

  2. Carrot is another app I've seen that is supposed to be great for things like this. Apparently it gets a bit snarky when you don't do you "to-dos"