To establish a habit, three conditions must be met: motivation, ability, and trigger. “For all of you thinking about designing healthy systems . . . I can’t stress the first one enough,” says David Kirchhoff, CEO of Snap Kitchen. “Please, for the love of everything good in the world, keep it simple.” It’s important to avoid difficult language, and to make the process as uncomplicated as it can be, he adds.
Find ways to eliminate friction — any reasons not to participate in a behavior change effort — through funding, incentives, and support, advises Kirchhoff. “Support, I would argue, doesn’t get nearly as much air play as incentives. They both speak to the same thing. They’re equally as important.”
Lastly, environment matters — an important element at Snap Kitchen locations, which are essentially convenience stores that sell only healthy food. “For me, this was the perfect embodiment of what we need to be doing,” says Kirchhoff. “Rather than turning my back on behavior change at the individual level, I feel like I finally wised up and recognized that the biggest way you can have impact on behavior change is to attack it at the environmental level.”
From the NEJM Catalyst event Patient Engagement: Behavioral Strategies for Better Health at the University of Pennsylvania, February 25, 2016.