How a Google Sheet encourages and motivates people to get fit
For 8 months, a Google Spreadsheet has been helping people all over the country get fit. Through gamification and the use of points, lifestyles are changing for the better.
In Fit with Friends, participants use a Google Spreadsheet to track their exercise and activity each day.
It’s simple: participants log their daily workout, and the spreadsheet automatically calculates points! Never mind that the points are completely arbitrary, I’ve found that they are an amazing motivator in getting people to exercise!
Points add value to exercise. As one participant says, “it’s nice to feel like working out “counts” for something else besides just me being happy I went to the gym.”
By earning points for their workout, participants visualize the hard work they did that day. Another participant loves Fit with Friends because “the motivation to see my points and enter the data makes me feel like a day well done.” Seeing the effort they put in that day gives participants something tangible to be proud of.
Earning points for exercise provides participants with the instant gratification they crave through explicit, frequent and automatic feedback.
Because changes in strength, endurance, and body composition take a long time to see, participants visualize the little accomplishments completed on the way to big goals.
The feedback of instant gratification motivates participants to stick with their routine long enough to see these big changes in their health.
The feedback points provide is so powerful that one participant went as far to say that entering in points is “usually my reward for exercise.“ Points provide small, instant rewards during a long, winding journey.
Each week an exercise is highlighted and points are doubled or tripled, which encourages participants to do more of that exercise to get the best bang for their buck.
As one participant puts it, part of the fun of Get Fit is “figuring out what to do to get the most points I can.”
Participants try new things all in the name of points! From sudoku to meditation to increasing the number of pushups per week to writing a letter to a congressman, points motivate people to do things they never would have otherwise done.
In its most basic form, Get Fit is a program that automatically provides arbitrary points… but they motivate people to get healthy, and that’s all that matters to me!