Health Month - February January 29, 2012 3:28 AM   Subscribe

Health Month - February.

Health Month is a site that helps you set and track aims for the month - habits you want to form. You can set goals related to diet, exercise, socialising, learning and pretty much anything you like.

There's a MetaFilter group and in January 151 MeFites took part. Once you're a member of the MF group you can post to the group wall, see other people's progress (and be inspired) and ask for advice about your own health goals.

There really is something special about the sense of community on HM and the game aspect of trying to meet your goals - I never thought I'd find myself thinking "I must go to bed on time tonight or I won't get a virtual piece of fruit".

If you've already signed up to HM but haven't set your February rules, you've got a couple of days to do that and to ask to join the MF group (follow the link above to the team).

If you haven't used HM before and would like to try it, sign up with the headline link above. You can have three rules for free but if you want more you'll either need to pay for the game or to ask for sponsorship (there's a link at the end of the rule-setting process). Because Mathowie donated to the game web-goddess has sponsorships to give out. When you request to join the team, either make sure your MF username is in your profile or send a MeMail to web-goddess so she knows you're you (so to speak).

posted by paduasoy to MetaFilter-Related at 3:28 AM (77 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Meant to include this link to a post by ocherdraco wch gives a good explanation of the game.
posted by paduasoy at 3:30 AM on January 29, 2012

I can't quite see how to message anyone on there, but thanks to web-goddess for setting this up, and to decathecting for sponsoring me for February.
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:57 AM on January 29, 2012

I don't think you can message on HM, but if you need to contact web-goddess I think she's happy to be MeMailed.
posted by paduasoy at 5:15 AM on January 29, 2012

Wow, January was a bad game month for me. On the other hand, I have extra motivation to go to the gym this coming month, because I'll be having ankle surgery at the end of the month that will put me on crutches for a while. So the other day it occurred to me, Hey! RMD! Wouldn't it be REMARKABLY CLEVER to actually get some strength training in beforehand so the whole crutches thing will suck THAT MUCH LESS. Nevermind the nebulous "it will be good for me" kind of motivation, this is about as concrete as a future-based motivation can be.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:28 AM on January 29, 2012

Oh, hey, I never joined the MeFi team for this month. hmf. okay, Feb request incoming.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:30 AM on January 29, 2012

I failed January pretty badly, I stopped signing in after a couple of days. :(
posted by Memo at 5:55 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm just barely alive at the end of January, because I set one pretty unrealistic goal, but the other 4 have gone great. I may drop down to 3 goals for February.
posted by Mngo at 6:13 AM on January 29, 2012

It looks like I'm about to get a hypothyroid dx in addition to the depression and add we already knew about. I'll finally be playing, but need to figure out if I've already joined.
posted by bilabial at 7:24 AM on January 29, 2012

This was my first month doing it, and my rules are kinda wimpy because I have two little kids at home, but everyone was really supportive. I didn't forget to take my breastfeeding-supporting multivitamin a single day this month, I ate raw fruit almost every day (which I seriously haven't done since I went to college, I am not a good fruit person!), and I met my (meager) exercise quota every week but one. I would be eating oranges before going to bed because I knew I had to check in about it in the morning.

I've had a rough month because my baby is teething (and isn't sleeping) and the weather's been pretty rotten, but even when it was 20 degrees and windy and I was exhausted, I was thinking to myself, "I HAVE to bundle the kids up and go for a walk, because if I don't walk today, I can't get my three walks in for Health Month ..."

Anyway, it's been a really good and motivating experience and I got out of the house a lot more than I typically do in January. (And my baby now bounces and shouts with excitement when he sees me get the baby-carrying backpack out of the closet.) I do *feel* healthier. (Probably eating real fruit does that.)

Next month (I've been sponsored, I think by mathowie! Thanks!) I'm adding 3 more rules. You can be sooo flexible with your rules. As an example, mine will be:
*Eat fruit at least 4 days a week
*Take vitamins every day
*Walk, outdoors, with the children, for 15+ minutes, at least 3 days a week (this one takes us like an hour since it takes us at least 20 minutes to leave the house!)
*Do indoor exercise at least twice a week (Yoga, Pilates, Wii Fit)
*No grazing after dinner 5 days/week -- eat one healthy snack and be done (I'm up so late with the baby and breastfeeding, so I need a few extra calories, but I tend to just kind of keep munching)
*Fix my hair at least once a week -- it's pretty much been in a non-stop ponytail since the baby was born, and this sort-of stands in for the fact that I make the kids good lunches but eat whatever, dress the kids nicely but pull my own clothes out of the clean laundry pile without even looking, etc. Doing nice things for myself.

Anyway, you can focus on a lot of areas of health -- I have some diet and exercise, neither too strenuous or unobtainable, but both incremental things that will help me take better care of myself and develop better habits -- and then I also have one that seems silly but is really about not totally losing my life to my childrens' lives. But really, really flexible for the things you want to focus on and the difficulty level you want. I've done mostly attainable things with just a bit of a stretch, things I know I ought to do, because even that's hard for me with everything I have going on. Other people are doing really hard things where they really push themselves!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:08 AM on January 29, 2012 [10 favorites]

I need to finalize my rules, but I am so in again! HM has been the first thing to help me achieve my exercise goals and cultivate good habits like taking my meds every day.
posted by immlass at 9:31 AM on January 29, 2012

I am in again. This site and our team really has been key to my healthiness.
posted by bearwife at 11:17 AM on January 29, 2012

This was my first month, and I'm clinging on at the end of the month, having been deathly ill and lost a bunch of points for stuff I just couldn't bring myself to get out of bed to do. But come hell or high water I've managed to eat breakfast every day, and it's been awesome and probably helped with a decent weight loss this month. Will be tweaking my rules a bit and playing again next month, for sure.
posted by Stacey at 11:53 AM on January 29, 2012

Think it's time for me to rejoin this. I actually came to Metatalk this morning, after watching 23 and a half hours (a seven minute video, pretty good, check it out) on the off-chance a new Health Month post might have gone up.

posted by churl at 11:54 AM on January 29, 2012

I'll be rejoining, too, but only for things like "take my medicine" and "do homework". Maybe something useful, but I've been sick lately and it's tough.
posted by two lights above the sea at 11:57 AM on January 29, 2012

I'm finally in. I've been meaning to do this for a while.
posted by pemberkins at 11:59 AM on January 29, 2012

Having trouble getting back in. Had some computer problems, replaced it, and my password won't work. Have attempted to reset password several times, and none of those work either. Will try again, I miss it.
posted by scottymac at 12:04 PM on January 29, 2012

Great post, paduasoy! I've managed to give out a few sponsorship chips this month, so the MeFi stockpile currently stands at 32. (I'm in Australia, so given the time zones, a lot of the time the other teammates get the requests before I even see them.)

I know some people fade away each month when life gets in the way. One thing that might be help to know is that you don't have to make your daily review public. If things are crap or you don't have time or you aren't feeling it, you don't have to share anything. Honestly though, our Team Wall is probably the most effective part of the site for me. It's always inspiring to read about other MeFites and cheer them on. (For a while, I actually had a HM rule to leave comments for people on there.) And you get so many great ideas for life improvements from the other folks. Many of us now have a "Dreaded Tasks" rule, which was invented by someone on the team. (Who was it? Claim your trademark!) It got me to fill out some scary and onerous tax forms that I'd been putting off for seriously YEARS.

Also, I have my six month dental checkup on Wednesday, and I am actually looking forward to it. That's what six months of flossing daily will do for you. Thanks Health Month!
posted by web-goddess at 12:05 PM on January 29, 2012

OK, I'm in. And thanks for sponsoring me, stranger! Sorry it took so long to get back on the wagon. GO METAFILTER!
posted by two lights above the sea at 12:14 PM on January 29, 2012

"It's always inspiring to read about other MeFites and cheer them on. "

Yes, I am now very invested in other people's music practice, new jobs, exercise goals, running distances, etc. I get bummed when I check in and there's no new news!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:38 PM on January 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

I was not keeping up on HM in the months when the "Dreaded Tasks" rule was invented. Is it as simple as "do something you dread doing every day"? Or is there more to it that I'm missing? I definitely need something to help nudge me through procrastination and, well, dread over getting certain things done.
posted by flex at 12:57 PM on January 29, 2012

I signed up, and just sent in my request to join Team Metafilter. I'm on a big push to lose some weight so I can drop my blood pressure medication, so hopefully this will help keep me motivated.
posted by ralan at 1:23 PM on January 29, 2012

I think the dreaded tasks rule is like the gender/occupation/relationship status thing on our profiles: it's free-form, go nuts.

For me, I have a running list of tasks I routinely put off (like fishtank maintenance) and also a few one-off things I have to do (schedule certain appointments, etc.) so I had a rule to do two "dreaded tasks" every week. It was a new rule for me in January, and it's a keeper. Other folks might set it up differently.

For me, the Health Month + Team Metafilter + fitbit combination has been a great thing for me. I now floss daily, have quit Diet Soda completely, eat better, walk more, sleep more, and am now chipping away at the mountain of tasks on my to-do list. Oh yeah, and I've lost 25 pounds.
posted by ambrosia at 1:27 PM on January 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I just signed up and sent my request to join the MeFi team! Health Month was suggested to me several months ago in response to an AskMe, and I've finally gotten my s--- together enough to make a decent attempt. Yay!
posted by sillymama at 1:41 PM on January 29, 2012

I'm in again. Would love a sponsorship if any are available, and have three to give out, so please let me know if anyone is in need. :)

This month was a total bust for me. I was sick and bedridden for three weeks out of the month, and in quarantine for two. Oddly enough, I was able to keep up with most of my rules because I was home and in a controlled environment. Can't drink soda if there's none in the house, and getting enough sleep is kinda easy when you're sleeping 18 out of every 24 hrs, for example. I'm looking forward to getting back to a normal routine next month....
posted by zarq at 1:41 PM on January 29, 2012

Oops. Nevermind. My own game used one of my own chips! I still have two to give out if anyone needs one.
posted by zarq at 1:48 PM on January 29, 2012

I just joined for the first time. I'm starting out with some very basic "act like a grown up and take some tiny amount of care of yourself" goals. Reading this thread has me very excited to be on Team Metafilter.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:51 PM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wow. I forgot about this. It definitely made me do well the first few days, but then I had a chain of late nights where I didn't sign in. That plus the daily email going to my spam box leads to no good. But I will re-up for February and hopefully do better. I wish there were an app!
posted by Night_owl at 2:13 PM on January 29, 2012

I am the inventor of the " dreaded tasks" concept... I wanted a way to harness the power of health month and team MeFi for tackling tasks that are one-offs or recur not that frequently. I've got mine set up as a custom rule I need to do 5X a week, which accommodates those occasional days where I might get through 2 or 3. You would think making yourself tackle dreaded tasks would be dreary and awful ( the first month I tried it that was my worry), but it's not. It feels great to release yourself of the burden of unfinished business.
posted by drlith at 2:34 PM on January 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Ok, I'm in. I need a way to be held accountable for my actions (or lack thereof), and this seems like a fun way to do so!
posted by jenny76 at 3:48 PM on January 29, 2012

Thanks, Mathowie and web-goddess, for sponsoring me!
posted by amarynth at 3:58 PM on January 29, 2012

I finally signed up and requested to be added to the MeFi group, yay me! What's the sponsorship thingie?
posted by deborah at 6:29 PM on January 29, 2012

I understand the sponsorship thingie now.
posted by deborah at 6:54 PM on January 29, 2012

January was my first shot at Health Month and it's been great. I really appreciate the little bit of accountability and the support of my team-mates has been surprisingly touching and helpful. Thanks to the MetaFilter team for everything. I'm back in for February and am adding the Dreaded Task to my rules.
posted by at 6:57 PM on January 29, 2012

This is going to kick my ass, but I'm in.

I really like the "dreaded tasks" idea, but I already have three goals. Maybe next month. Now I don't have to do them! Muahaha!
posted by ke rose ne at 6:57 PM on January 29, 2012

I'm in! Thanks for the sponsorship.
posted by defenestration at 7:18 PM on January 29, 2012

Is there any interest in creating an offshoot team of folks choosing not to do any weightloss or weightgain talk for those of us MeFites who are in recovery from eating disorders? Or is that too small a niche market to make it worth the effort? My razzafrazza brain is so triggery that I can't play with the main team, but perhaps I am not alone...
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:28 PM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

And by "any interest in creating" I mean "if anyone else is interested, I would do the logistical work of creating," not "please make me a pony!"
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:29 PM on January 29, 2012

Joining the mefi team after my wonderful girlfriend showed me this site.

How's this payment / sponsorship thing work? I went through the "please sponsor me" stuff, but I appear to have two sponsor tokens as well. Can I use one on myself, or will this cost me five bucks?
posted by cschneid at 9:14 PM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sidhedevil, I don't know if you'd consider this as an option, but you can choose to set your wall filter to show only friends instead of following the entire team. So it would be possible to curate a list of people who don't have diet/weight rules or whatever, and just follow them. Not sure if that will work for you, but it's possible to do.
posted by ambrosia at 11:29 PM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

January was my first time with Health Month, and I'm surprised at how motivating it was. So I made some harder rules for February. Won't someone please sponsor me? (I'm bluedaisy there as well.)
posted by bluedaisy at 12:31 AM on January 30, 2012

Still in for February!
posted by Kitteh at 5:35 AM on January 30, 2012

Thanks, whoever sponsored me!
posted by pemberkins at 5:54 AM on January 30, 2012

Ok. I'm in. Dreaded tasks sound like an extremely good idea. Especially considering that I will soon be getting the rest of the pieces of paper required for doing my taxes and we're trying to figure out the best way to clip the back claws of the cat.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:13 AM on January 30, 2012

I'm in again for February. January was my first month doing Health Month and to echo others, it was great! I also was surprised at how accountable I felt when thinking about updating the next day.

February and March however, I'm traveling for some of both, so I've gone down to 3 rules for the two months (running, flossing and drinking enough water) because I know any attempts to limit alcohol or calories will be going in the trash as soon as I get back to New Zealand and visit old friends.
posted by gaspode at 6:56 AM on January 30, 2012

There really is something special about the sense of community on HM and the game aspect of trying to meet your goals - I never thought I'd find myself thinking "I must go to bed on time tonight or I won't get a virtual piece of fruit".

I can't agree with this enough. I have found the game aspect of it surprisingly motivational: more motivational than a simple: "I should do this for the sake of my health."

If you're looking to develop new and healthy habits, this is a really good way to do it (especially if you respond well to outside pressure, instead of just your own willpower).
posted by asnider at 9:55 AM on January 30, 2012

I haven't effectively done health month since I moved last June, but I'm in for this month. I missed having a group of people to be both accountable to and have cheering me on.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 10:08 AM on January 30, 2012

Has anyone ponied up for the annual membership? I did this at the end of the year but the site's still saying I need to pay. I've already contacted Buster but I'm interested in the experiences of other MeFits. (I've never had any problems with month-to-month payments.)
posted by immlass at 10:55 AM on January 30, 2012

It's an excellent concept and I signed up, but wow is site navigation confusing. Not to mention the lack of iPad support. I hope the data engine is better than the front end...
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:46 AM on January 30, 2012

immlass: I bought an annual membership several months ago, maybe around May or June. Didn't have a problem then.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:53 AM on January 30, 2012

We're up to 99 members for February! I've still got 3 folks I can't verify as MeFites: flux, SpaceCat, and machrider. If this is you, send me a MeMail or leave a comment in here so I know to add you!
posted by web-goddess at 12:18 PM on January 30, 2012

Back in as NUBS. Hoping to find a sponsor, and willing to sponsor someone in return.
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:43 PM on January 30, 2012

I'm in as mccarty_tim.

Mostly going to do diet stuff. Also trying to limit coffee.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:32 PM on January 30, 2012

The application barfed this afternoon and when I went back, it was working and I'm properly a member. Hooray!
posted by immlass at 4:11 PM on January 30, 2012

Thanks to whomever sponsored me!! I'm looking forward to doing this.
posted by jenny76 at 4:21 PM on January 30, 2012

What a crazy end of the month, but I'm in, and was sponsored seconds later - thanks DevilsAdvocate!

I don't see any other MeFites on the wall, but if anybody is in need of sponsorship, I have a couple of chips.
posted by moira at 5:49 PM on January 30, 2012

I'm in and would like to be sponsored - I have no idea how to request that though... I think I'm missing something. Maybe once Feb starts things will be clearer!
posted by hapax_legomenon at 5:56 PM on January 30, 2012

If you make more than three rules, or one of your rules is private, you'll be asked to pay or request sponsorship, with a link at the bottom of the page. Did you see that screen?
posted by moira at 6:30 PM on January 30, 2012

Did you see that screen?

Ah, no, I didn't - I only set up three rules because I wasn't sure about paying/sponsorship/etc., so I guess I'll do that. Thanks!

On another note, do I need to follow all MeFites for their updates to show up in my ... stream? Wall? Or does that happen automagically because I'm part of the MeFi team?
posted by hapax_legomenon at 6:41 PM on January 30, 2012

(I hope I'm remembering this correctly.) When you check in each day, at the bottom of your report screen, you'll see a link to the team wall. Just click that. You'll have the opportunity to check in with your "spirit animal" and to see the team wall. There's also a link to the game wall at the top of most pages, if you want to see it at other times. I doubt there's anything up on February's wall right now, though.
posted by moira at 7:06 PM on January 30, 2012

I took a chance and tried this in January and after having a fantastically crappy week last week (failing to meet my goals and avoiding even logging in because I knew I'd have to hold myself accountable) the MeFi team loaded me up with fruit and encouragement and made me feel so much better about having that setback. I've already signed up for February (thanks to whomever sponsored me!!) and I feel ready to go!

So thanks Metafilter! Everyone go try HealthMonth!
posted by MultiFaceted at 8:27 PM on January 30, 2012

wow is site navigation confusing

Yes, this is one negative. Many of the options are simply inaccessible from anywhere other than the home page, which is kind of ridiculous.
posted by asnider at 10:05 PM on January 30, 2012

Yes, I agree the interface is very annoying, and has put me off recommending it to some people.

Just checked the February wall and it's empty, but presumably becomes the default wall at midnight.
posted by paduasoy at 1:14 AM on January 31, 2012

OK - I had 6 rules last month, and want to have 7 or 8 this month (I'm including a few easy ones that are normally habits, but this month is hectic, so I want to make them into rules)...but can't seem to add a rule for next month? Every time I try, I delete an old one.

Help? Anyone? Health Month seems to need some interface help.
posted by Wylla at 2:46 AM on January 31, 2012

Whoops, I just realized I'd been misreading the site. FYI, it does not say "X is an unproven Health Monster so far. So much potential!" So you can all relax now. You're safe from the Health Monsters.
posted by ke rose ne at 8:14 AM on January 31, 2012

You're safe from the Health Monsters.

You haven't met my mother-in-law.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:23 AM on January 31, 2012

Just realized you have to join the team each month. So that surprised me.

Also, thanks to the anonymous person who sponsored me!
posted by bluedaisy at 11:14 AM on January 31, 2012

I don't see any MeFis seeking sponsorship -- please let us know if you need that. I have 11 chips to give away, and am sure lots of Health Month members have more.
posted by bearwife at 2:03 PM on January 31, 2012

I've got a bunch of sponsorship chips left, and I've also got a big pile of january fruit that's going to go *poof* in nine hours, so if anyone wants a top-up, just say the word.
posted by ambrosia at 3:22 PM on January 31, 2012

I bought multivitamins in preparation today. Feeling like an adult.
posted by defenestration at 4:09 PM on January 31, 2012

Snoogles - somebody already sponsored you, but I noticed you're not on the MeFi team! You have to request to rejoin the team every month. (I know, it sucks.)
posted by web-goddess at 5:54 PM on January 31, 2012

The fruit disappears?!?! I will be glad to give it away. Oh, how sad. I was hoping to stockpile.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:08 PM on January 31, 2012

Yes, unfortunately fruit is only per month
posted by Z303 at 3:40 AM on February 1, 2012

Can anyone sponsor me this month? Pretty please, with two spoonsful of raw sugar (or agave nectar, if that's your thang) on top? :o)
posted by xiaolongbao at 6:17 AM on February 1, 2012

done, xiaolongbao.
posted by gaspode at 6:31 AM on February 1, 2012

Thanks, gaspode!! ++good karma to you!
posted by xiaolongbao at 6:45 AM on February 1, 2012

drlith, I'm in and am adding a dreaded task rule (3x/week to start, will bump it up next month if this proves manageable.)
posted by en forme de poire at 10:00 AM on February 1, 2012

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