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Use a challenge to change behavior

Mar 15, 20223 minute read

How to start building better habits with Challenges

In this post, we will discuss another reason to run a Challenge. While the previous post was about how to grow communities using Challenges, we will now shed light on how they can be used to change behaviors and improve the lives of your customers and audience.

Behavioral Change

Most of our behavior is habitual. Behaviors become automatic when repeated over time. A good example of this is driving: when you learn to drive, it requires conscious effort to learn and remember all the right steps, but as time goes on, those actions form habits.

Making a lasting change in behavior is not a simple task as you probably know – just think about your last New Year's resolution. Your motivation level was really high initially, but after some time you ended up back where you were before.

Successful behavioral change is hard because our brains get stuck in fixed patterns, and altering those habits in the long term involves a substantial commitment of time, effort, and emotion.

Here are a few typical examples of behavioral change that people want to achieve:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Improving nutrition
  • Exercising regularly

Many people want to stop engaging in behaviors that have negative consequences for them, but quickly get discouraged and give up on their goals. To combat this, there are tools and techniques that help people stay motivated in the process and guide them through the difficult journey of behavior change.

The Challenge

At Framework, we are committed to building a home built on these tools and techniques: a world-class platform that is dedicated to Challenges, the mightiest instrument to help anyone achieve their goal.

Let’s start with defining Challenges:

“A Challenge is a time-bound learning journey with a clearly defined goal that has been broken down into manageable action steps. These action steps (whether they are daily, weekly, or any other interval) help the challenge’s end goal feel more attainable as the participants make measurable progress.”

You can also check our blog post “Build A Challenge To Grow Your Business” for more details about the value and structure of Challenges.

Whether you want to teach people how to lose weight, stop smoking, or accomplish some other goal, the Challenge is a powerful mechanism. It is about making small progress on a regular schedule over a longer period of time, and therefore ideal for breaking patterns and developing new ones.

Habit-formation takes time – anywhere from 18 days up to 254 days (Lally et al., 2009) – so the first Challenge someone enrolls in should be seen as a starting point and not necessarily as a panacea for behavioral change.

There are many variables that determine the success in developing a new routine, and we can't expect everyone is able to change in 21 to 30 days. However, the Challenge puts people on the right path towards achieving a subgoal – a stepping stone to the final objective of breaking a bad habit and living a better life.

Example: Annie Grace

For instance, Annie Grace who is the author of This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life is using Framework for a free 30 Day Challenge called The Alcohol Experiment. The Challenge is about  started to change habits around drinking alcohol.

Annie presents facts and advice and takes people through a non-judgemental learning journey about the impact of their drinking habits. At the end of the 30 days, participants of the Challenge can continue by taking other programs of Annie, such as the 100 Days of Lasting Change, which are paid offerings that help people to manifest an alcohol free life if they desire.

In conclusion, the structural design of a Challenge, with its explicit goal and incremental steps towards that goal, is primed for changing behaviors. Additionally, the successful completion of a Challenge provides a moment of celebration that triggers the impulse to continue the journey to finally overcome that bad habit for good.

Book Recommendations

If you're interested in learning more about the psychology behind habits and the approaches of how to change them, feel free to check out the following books. Of course, there are many other good ones too, but those are a good starting point.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones | James Clear

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change | Charles Duhigg

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything | BJ Fogg

What's next

In the next post of this series, we will discuss the difference between building Challenges on Facebook versus Framework.

If you’re interested in learning more about Framework, please sign up for a free trial or book a demo with one of our product specialists who can walk you through the product and answer any of your questions.

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