The Power of Nudge

I was glad to see the recent findings that declared that exercise and weight loss are just a nudge away. Supposedly, test groups of women who were reminded to exercise by human or computerized phone calls, worked out more often and lost more weight than the control group. Women are used to being nagged or to nagging themselves but these ‘nudges’ were done in a good way. Could positive reinforcement be the answer to the never-ending cry of “I don’t have time to exercise”?

I am a testimony to the success of this carrot vs stick approach. Although I worked out for years with trainers who could teach me good form, I never really cracked the code of exercising out of their sight. But (drumroll), one year ago, I started to work out with a wonderful woman named Colleen Tomko of Frenchtown, NJ and she has made all the difference due to one thing: a constant stream of motivational nudges, courtesy of text messaging. Every day she’ll write me simple texts like, “How was the gym?” (note her expectation that I went) or “H2O? Pushups? How are the food choices?” which make me grab the water, hit the floor and drop the muffin I may have accidentally grabbed.

For the first time in my life of up and down pounds, I’ve lost and kept off 20 pounds and exercised pretty much 5-6 days a week for a year and shockingly kept a positive mental attitude toward the whole process (or “PMA” as Colleen cheerily calls it.) It’s true that when I’ve shared my Colleen messages with others, the constant attagirl’s aren’t for everyone. But marketers who are wondering how to get customers re-engaged, might try the nudge approach—that doesn’t sell or scold—but simply reminds.

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November 27, 2020
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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