Scoop: Good for You

Health Month makes getting healthy an interactive we adventure

Yes, this is the month we’re going to stop eating pizza and start going to the gym every day! Definitely. Well, probably. OK, maybe? When it comes to getting healthy, many of us have trouble with stick-to-it-iveness—largely because we assign ourselves unachievable goals. That’s where recently launched Health Month ( may help. Invented by Seattleite Buster Benson, cofounder of the goal-setting social networking website 43 Things ( and creator of the Locavore iPhone app (which geolocates local, in-season produce at farmers’ markets), Health Month is a new online game and smartphone app that makes getting healthy more palatable. Participants pick rules from a list of options (such as eating more whole grains) and award themselves points (entered online daily) for sticking to the rules. Friendly competition with other players is a natural motivator. Animal “spirit guides” (fox, crane, polar bear, lizard) show up to assist or thwart you. At the end of the month, points are tallied, behaviors are charted, and you get a clear sense of what types of rules you respond to best (do you work better with “do’s” or “don’ts”? Cold turkey or moderation?). Rather than a constant, short-lived battle to keep difficult resolutions, Benson says, the goal of Health Month is to “turn being healthy into a long-term, casual game that encourages the intrinsic reward of health.”

Published November 2010