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How can we nudge people towards healthier habits?


There are tons of apps, pieces of software and online content telling you how to be healthier – honestly we already know most of it. Everyone knows that we should eat more veggies, move more, sleep more, be more positive, stop over analysing and all those other common sense cures that are supposed to scientifically make us feel better.  


We know what works, but we don’t actually do it. For some reason, we don’t stick to these healthier habits. All you have to do is look at the “I’ve broken my new year’s resolutions” posts in February to know that education and motivation alone is not helping us to be healthier. 

Want to know the secret sauce?

Well, it’s not exactly a secret, it’s a science – behavioural science. By looking at how people actually act, and why they do the things they do, we can reverse engineer ways to help them become healthier for longer, whether that’s physically, mentally, emotionally, or all three.


Where do we see these behavioural nudges?

We see behavioural nudges all around us. Those little prompts that urge us to do something or to guide us towards a certain brand of product. Think about those Duolingo emails and push notifications that gradually give us more and more of a guilt trip until we continue with our language learning, or the fact that brands pay more to have their products on shelves that are at eye level with the customer in supermarkets. 

On a more basic level we have things like loyalty cards where we get the 10th coffee free – the fact that we have to buy nine to get there when we only go into the shop wanting one doesn’t matter – this loyalty card now has us invested in our pursuit of the most powerful motivator – free stuff.  

We can use all these behavioural nudges and techniques to drive people towards healthier habits. They’re already in use by the Nike Run app, our smart watches, Peloton and more physical health spaces. Where it’s lacking is in the mental health space – or it was.


How does Leafyard use behavioural science?

Behavioural science is the foundation that our new mental health web-app, Leafyard, is built upon. It works to help create positive life habits and invokes positive, permanent, lasting change. We are trying to change things for good here – not just a short term fix.


From nudging emails to collecting points every time you engage to seeing a visual representation of your progress, there are dozens of behavioural nudges throughout Leafyard that are all there with a singular purpose: to help users build healthier habits that make them feel better on a long term basis.


When it comes to designing products that people actually want to use, you have to consider what makes them tick – behavioural science allows us to do just that and make a lasting, positive impact.