This article was published on February 24, 2011

Health Month turns getting healthy into a social game

Health Month turns getting healthy into a social game
Francis Tan
Story by

Francis Tan

Francis Tan is the Asia editor of TNW, who is based in the Philippines. He is particularly interested in Asian Internet startups, social me Francis Tan is the Asia editor of TNW, who is based in the Philippines. He is particularly interested in Asian Internet startups, social media and e-commerce. Get in touch with him via Twitter @francistan or Email [email protected].

Whenever we set personal goals, we tend to break them. The primary reason is usually a lack of personal motivation. Health Month is an online platform designed to help people stick to their goals by turning it into a social game.

Health Month, the brain child of Buster Benson, began as a yearly ritual amongst friends that started as a Livejournal community back in 2008. It eventually evolved into full-fledged website in 2010 when Benson took the 90 day challenge. In a nutshell, it is all about making small improvements to your health one month at a time. There are different set of “rules” to choose from including dietary, fitness, relationship, mental health, and financial health. The rules are mainly categorized in two — the do’s and the don’ts. A few examples are “limit Internet usage”, “eat greens”, “limit fried food”, “read”, but of course you can also create your own. You can pick as many as you want but for first time players, Health Month recommends starting with 1 to 5 rules, then just gradually work your way up. Just a heads up: there’s a $5/month or $50/year membership fee when you set more than 3 goals.

Setting Goals

This is how each goal is set. It takes on a very personal approach rather than simply letting you click on the rules you want to follow. You can actually set parameters such as how often you currently do it, how often you want to do it, and how difficult it is for you to pull off, and finally, how important the rule is for you. You can also give yourself additional instructions; in this case, maybe allow yourself a bottle or two whenever it’s a friend’s birthday party. This way, you can set goals that are realistic and achievable. It’s all really up to you.


The site displays statistics that lets you evaluate your goals in one glance, which is motivating as well. When I saw that the overall difficulty level is only “low”, it made me want to challenge myself by adding more. It’s okay if you don’t have friends to play with initially because you get automatically placed in one of the four brackets depending on the number of goals you set and the difficulty level. Later on you can access a wall that can be filtered depending on your bracket so you can meet people who have similar goals.

Contract to yourself

After setting your monthly goals, you are asked to sign a personal contract. You start each month with 10 life points, which gets deducted whenever you don’t stick to your rules. The goal is to end each month with at least 1 life point. In your personal contract, you can set a self-imposed reward or punishment depending on how you performed during the month. If you lose all your life points, you can ask others to give you a “virtual fruit” that restores it. The only way to get a fruit is to follow all of the rules that you set in one day. If you have some fruits to spare, it’s a good way to support others because you give them a second chance to succeed in their goals, which again is very motivating.

Getting Started

You can follow friends and team mates on Health Month to see a stream of how everyone else is doing with their game. If you’re having a hard time with your goals, you can post questions, thoughts, and challenges. On the other hand, you can also give tips and positive feedback to help others stick to their goals.

The cycle starts every month and since February is almost over, now would be a good time to start. Health Month an effective goal-monitoring platform with a unique social twist that can definitely help motivate you achieve your goals. The reason it’s effective is that it makes sure that your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. End of the day, it really depends on how committed and determined you are.

I’m definitely going to give it a shot. Who’s with me?

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.

Back to top