Being healthy, choose-your-own-adventure style!
September 16, 2010 5:03 AM   Subscribe

Health Month is a game, currently in beta, that takes a "choose-your-own-adventure" approach to motivating you to improve your health.

The gameplay, in a nutshell, goes like this:

You design your own rules and goals for staying healthy. The rules can be anything you want, from exercising to eating to positive thinking. You log your results every day. If you haven't followed your rules, you lose life points. If you do really well, however, you're rewarded with fruits which you can then use to either heal yourself or friends who might not be doing so hot. Your rules are reset every month, and you can choose to roll over your performance, or create new rules. As an added bonus, you'll get lots of geektastic stats on your behaviour throughout the month.

It's the pet project of a guy named Buster Benson, who is also behind the company Enjoymentland, source of other MeFi favourites like 750 Words. via.
posted by Phire (18 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, I should've specified: the first three rules are free. If you want to specify 4 or more rules, you can pay $5 per month, or $50 per year for membership, or seek sponsorship. Each paying player can sponsor one other person per month.
posted by Phire at 5:14 AM on September 16, 2010

That's pretty cool. I've always wanted to min-max my personal stats. Spinach for lunch? Yoga three times a week? Grinding the Couch-to-5k? Level up: ding!
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:20 AM on September 16, 2010

I hear the side quests are really hard, and the lack of revert-to-saved is a serious glitch in my opinion.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:36 AM on September 16, 2010 [13 favorites]

I really like this idea, even if I think it's slightly too expensive for what it does.

Too easy to min-max though if it allows custom rules:
"No kicking puppies"
"No cloning Hitler"
posted by Memo at 5:43 AM on September 16, 2010

it's slightly too expensive

I mean it's five bucks a month.. what would be more agreeable, one buck?
posted by pwally at 6:15 AM on September 16, 2010

Remember the Milk Pro costs about $2/month, so yes, $1 would be appropriate for what amounts to a nicer looking and slightly more interactive version of Joe's Goals.
posted by Memo at 6:51 AM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is walking to the beer store a goal I can get points for?
posted by Theta States at 7:42 AM on September 16, 2010

"No cloning Hitler"

Thing is, the day that you accidentally break this rule, you're going to feel like a right prick.
posted by dudekiller at 7:49 AM on September 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yeah, no cloning Hitler should really be kind of a free default rule.

They'll probably figure this out eventually, sort of the way Wheel of Fortune finally just started giving you T, R, N, L, and E because everyone always picked them anyway.
posted by Naberius at 7:52 AM on September 16, 2010

I'm actually trying to cut down on Hitler cloning and puppy kicking.
posted by swift at 8:12 AM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Metafilter's own Buster Benson, that is. (He's user #1803, joined a month after I did.)

Also: Health Month is brilliant. Limiting it to a month of activity makes it feel much more like a massively-multiplayer contest.
posted by waxpancake at 8:54 AM on September 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hey guys. I'm the creator of Health Month, and am always super stoked to see anything I've worked on show up on Metafilter.

I will definitely work on adding a Hitler/puppy section to the rules.

One point worth mentioning is that you can't really cheat by creating rules that don't require any work or that you do by default, because you get points based on how difficult you rate the rules you're giving yourself. If you choose a lot of easy rules, you'll be placed in the same "bracket" of people who have also chosen a lot of easy rules or have chosen a few hard rules.

And since it's all public, it'll look sorta silly if you are obviously mis-rating your rules to give yourself more points. But then again, looking silly is sometimes the goal. In that case, you'll win.

As for pricing... anyone can choose to "apply for sponsorship" and other people will use their free pass on you. If they don't, I've been going in and approving everyone who can't pay every month anyway. It's more about at least making an attempt to pay a few bills with the project rather than keeping people out. Everyone gets in. It's just a matter of how.
posted by mockerybird at 8:56 AM on September 16, 2010 [6 favorites]

This is cool. I'm in! I'll pay next month if this makes a difference for me in October.
posted by vorfeed at 10:58 AM on September 16, 2010

In the last few months I have been undergoing this experiment of treating losing weight as if it were gathering XP. Exercise is of course much like a typical RPG video game grind, with more actual physical suffering and less mind numbing boredom and frustration. I weigh myself every morning and have a gnuplot script that I use to chart my overall loss (I am nearing my goal of losing about 100 pounds and going from obese to normal bmi, it will happen ten days from now if my chart is to be believed).

The funny thing is that the attractive member of the appropriate sex who you have plans to make your move on probably doesn't really care about your achievements in games. And even if they do, they probably will be impressed by an athletic body regardless (or the increased energy, stamina, and overall positive outlook and absence of suicidal ideation that can come with exercise).

Really, nearly everyone treats me different now that I am not fat. The world is a much more pleasant and happy and inviting place. This makes me think that prejudice against fat people is a serious problem -- and at the same time that losing that weight was one of the best things I ever did for myself.
posted by idiopath at 11:16 AM on September 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you do really well, however, you're rewarded with fruits which you can then use to either heal yourself or friends who might not be doing so hot.

Heh, one of my main health rules in real life is restricting fruit intake.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:36 PM on September 16, 2010

ISO 9000 for the self improvement industry.
posted by Chuckles at 6:55 PM on September 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

This looks neat- I'm trying it next month. Too bad I found out about it so far from the start of the next month- I'm ready to try to meet my goals now.
posted by Secretariat at 1:20 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

> ... the lack of revert-to-saved is a serious glitch in my opinion.

Oh man, you mean nobody ever showed you how to use the waypoints?
posted by contraption at 8:59 AM on September 18, 2010

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