Do you have resolutions? MeFites can help! January 9, 2014 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Team MetaFilter is (still!) on HealthMonth, and it's a great way to get support and encouragement for healthy habits and positive life changes.

HealthMonth is a website to help you form healthy habits, where you choose up to 3 "rules" you want to work on (3 habits free; more for $5 a month) and then do daily check-ins about whether you stuck to those habits. If you meet your weekly goal, great! If you don't, you lose a life point -- and you only have 10 life points. But never fear, for your team members collect fruit whenever they stick to their rules, and they can heal you with their fruit so you can regain lifepoints. If you survive the month with even 1 life point left, yay! You won the month! If not, you get to reboot and try again next month.

For example, this month I'm trying to go to the gym three times a week, write in a journal twice a week, and eat fruit three times a week (I hate fruit, stupid plant ovaries). I check in in the morning when I check my e-mail (but you can do it any time of day) and with about 5 clicks report on whether I followed my rules yesterday, and then I get to post a little summary of my day if I want to, which other team members can see and respond to. It's a great way to be accountable to others and get encouragement, without feeling like you can never screw up -- I already lost a couple life points this month because POLAR VORTEX closed the gym AND meant I ran out of fruit in the house, but I'm not worried, because I know people will give me game-fruit if I get into trouble! In the past I would have been like, "ARGH, I already screwed up the WHOLE MONTH I should give up" but now I'm like, "I have 8 life points left, it's just a small setback, I can get right back to doing my healthy thing!"

Team MetaFilter is really positive and encouraging, congratulating members on successes achieved and offering support when things are tough. I've been doing HealthMonth on and off for about two years now, and it's really helped me make some positive changes. I actually lost 20 pounds doing HealthMonth, although then my life exploded with traumatic family stuff and I took a break from HealthMonth and ate all my feelings, which taste like Fritos in case you wondered, so I've lost some of that ground, but now I'm BACK ON THE HEALTH MONTH WAGON and it's keeping me honest about going to the gym.

You can join Team MetaFilter here -- follow the instructions on the page about usernames/contacting the Team MetaFilter manager. And you can join mid-month (which didn't used to be true), so jump in any time!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 8:23 AM (28 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

Health Month has been a life-changer for me, so I encourage interested parties to join in. The team is really supportive.
posted by immlass at 9:09 AM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the reminder! I was a member a few years ago, and I'm ready to come back to it. It's a really great site and a great team.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:39 AM on January 9, 2014

Great! I found Health Month very helpful when it started. I'm ready to get back into it again. I just joined the MeFi team (I inexplicably chose bosiazee when I first signed up a few years ago - that' me!).
posted by Zosia Blue at 9:44 AM on January 9, 2014

I signed up! I do like Health Month for the team support. I just wish they had some kind of mobile app.
posted by bluefly at 9:56 AM on January 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Health Month has been a great thing for me, and I look forward to welcoming a bunch of new folks to the team.

If you ask to join, and your username is in any way not EXACTLY like your username on MetaFilter, please send me a MeMail. Your name on HM does not have to be the same as here, but I need to be able to identify you as a MeFite. If I search and your name doesn't come up, I'm at a loss. This includes taking out spaces, adding spaces, adding numbers, spoonerizing, and so forth. Please don't make me guess at all the variables, make it easy for me and send me a message and I will add you right away.

Currently I have 16 people in a queue awaiting approval to join the team, and I am unable to connect them with a username on MetaFilter. If you think you might be one of those folks, a quick note on MeMail will do the trick.

posted by ambrosia at 10:13 AM on January 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah. I'm back in. Formerly ladygypsy, now kimberussell.

*grumbles, eats salad*
posted by kimberussell at 10:36 AM on January 9, 2014

Health Month is great when I put my mind to it! I should probably get back in there... it's my own shortcoming that I seem to do great with my goals for month one, then start to slide a little bit month two, then have a "Get off my BACK with these reminders!" response and bail in month three. But the infrastructure is great and team MeFi is the best!
posted by usonian at 11:07 AM on January 9, 2014

OK, I'm in. Trying to cement some better habits. I'm not saying I'm bad or anything...ooooh, chocolate!
posted by arcticseal at 12:09 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

So, something kinda amazing has happened to me lately.

Let me rephrase that: I did something kinda amazing lately. Amazing to me, anyhow.

After a lifetime of writing and thinking I should try to get published somewhere but somehow never... y'know, trying... I set myself the "meaningful work" goal on HM. To meet that goal, I started submitting pitches to a site I read. And the first two, not surprisingly, were rejected.

But the third was accepted. And published. And paid for. After a lifetime of wanting and wishing – and just a few months of trying – I did the thing I've always wanted to do.

Two weeks later, they also accepted my second article. And I have a pretty good feeling about my next pitch, too.

I'm not going to give ALL the credit to HM, nor even to the reliably enthusiastic support from our great team members. But the habits that I built over the past few months, and especially the daily check-in, directly contributed to this success that means so much to me. It changed an amorphous "oh, someday" into a simple question: "did you work toward your goal today?"

I'm grateful to Health Month and, even more, grateful to Team MeFi. You all helped me push past passivity and into trying. Because trying is what it's all about.

If you're on the fence about joining the team, I encourage you to give it a try. Maybe it won't be for you, but maybe you'll find yourself doing the thing you always wanted to do.
posted by Elsa at 1:54 PM on January 9, 2014 [23 favorites]

I offer to help. Send me all the chocolate and gooey desserts that you will eschew instead of chew. I promise to take really good care of them.
posted by Cranberry at 2:49 PM on January 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

I just joined. Not 100% sure it's my sort of thing, but am trying to get back on the exercise wagon, so maybe it will help.
posted by jferg at 2:57 PM on January 9, 2014

This has worked well for me in the months I've tried it. I've found that if I put the bookmark in the folder of bookmarks that I open every morning (weather, email etc) it keeps me honest. I'm not the most social Team MeFi member because I use the site at about 545am every morning. It is not 545am now so Hi there!
posted by sciencegeek at 3:22 PM on January 9, 2014

I guess I need to try it again, and by "again" I mean more than sign up.
posted by jeather at 3:57 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I sometimes wish that a horde of web designers would descend upon Health Month and rebuild it from the ground up, but don't let the clunky interface scare you away! Since joining Team MeFi on Health Month in December, I've been way more consistent in doing things I've been trying to do for years. The daily check-in, support of a friendly community, and silly point system have been shockingly effective in helping me build positive habits.
posted by fussbudget at 4:49 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

jferg: "Not 100% sure it's my sort of thing"

Yeah, I drift on and off in different months. It's really helpful for getting me on track but then I tend to drift away from the check-ins, and then when I get off track I go back to Health Month. But it's cool because I can do that!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:14 PM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

After a lifetime of wanting and wishing – and just a few months of trying – I did the thing I've always wanted to do.

Congratulations, Elsa!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:10 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Okay, I'm in. I feel like I would be bad at something like this, but QuitNet helped me a lot when I was quitting smoking, so maybe Health Month will do the same for not being a fatty.
posted by slogger at 6:11 AM on January 10, 2014

Alright, I'm in!
posted by Grither at 8:01 AM on January 10, 2014

Joined, I'm rabbitrabbit23 since rabbitrabbit was already taken.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:31 AM on January 10, 2014

posted by dawkins_7 at 11:41 AM on January 10, 2014

Looks like I won't be very active though, the site is blocked at my workplace and the interface on my phone is horrendous. Seconding the wish for a mobile app.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:58 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I just signed up as lizotron. I'm not sure I understand just how we're meant to record our progress. Does it email you or something? Do you lose points if you forget to fill it out? What's the deal?
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:27 PM on January 15, 2014

Every day you check in on your rules. (You can get emailed for this.) There are two kinds of points: regular points (which reflect how difficult your habits are) and life points, which you lose when you break rules. There are ways to regain life points if you need them, but the best way is to ask your teammates for help. You get 10 life points at the beginning of the month and if you have any left at the end, you win the month.

The other points count for different things, but the life points are the only ones I ever pay attention to.
posted by immlass at 1:46 PM on January 15, 2014

The points-points seem to be for groups having competitions either within a team or between two teams; I ignore them because the metafilter group is about mutual support, not "who can do the best Healthing?" But maybe we could mail a sticker to whomever gets the most points. :)

Anyway, life points is what most of us focus on. You get 10 at the start of the month and when you fail to meet a goal, you lose a point. (All my goals are weekly, so if I'm supposed to go to the gym 3 times a week and only go once, I'll lose two points that week. But you can also do daily goals.) The slight gamification keeps me focused on doing my good things so I don't lose life points, but since I have 10 of them I don't just give up if I do mess up or have a bad week.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:33 PM on January 15, 2014

I'm jumping back in for February! Let's hope I don't peter out at the end of the semester (though I make no promises for April, when I'll be taking the MCAT).
posted by ocherdraco at 8:27 AM on January 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

you can just have a custom goal for April: survive.
posted by sciencegeek at 11:08 AM on January 27, 2014

I think that is a great plan.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:11 PM on January 27, 2014

The other points count for different things, but the life points are the only ones I ever pay attention to.

Exactly. The other points allow you to track who's doing [whatever] more consistently, so they'd be a handy score-keeping tool for (for example) any side bets you might want to make, or if you're on a competitive team, but I completely disregard them. And if the culture of the MeFi team changed to become more competitive, I would still completely disregard them except to say "YAY, WHOEVER" to the competitive winners (and, y'know, everyone else).

In general, the interface may feel a little confusing and clunky at first, but if you keep clicking – track your progress, record your choices – it will become self-explanatory. One thing I wish I'd figured out sooner: you can turn off the check-ins about mood and weight, or reduce their frequency, for the entire month. I turn them off entirely on the first of each month because they weren't providing me with valuable information about my performance and they made me feel obscurely bad.

ocherdraco, so glad you're coming back! And yeah, just keeping yourself fed and breathing during that month is quite enough of a goal. Great idea, sciencegeek!
posted by Elsa at 3:23 AM on January 29, 2014

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