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Sonic's Secret Sauce

Habits matter most

We are obsessed with creating tools that improve daily health habits for the masses – 60% of employees, on average. We’re greedy that way. We want everyone - the young, the old, the women, the men, the couch potatoes and triathletes. In order for us to make healthy living the only acceptable way of being, we took a daring swing at the established dogma and employed a more powerful model. The task of building healthy habits is too large to rely on a single influence tactic, so we deploy an arsenal.

Our model - making healthy habits inevitable

1. Make the unpleasant pleasant

How can you get employees to do things they find boring, chore-like, painful or even loathsome? We’ve learned that a change of heart can’t be imposed; it can only be chosen. Getting people to choose behaviors they wouldn’t ordinarily choose requires the sort of motivation that can only come from within. Exercise is no longer exercise when it becomes a game. Eating salad isn’t punishment if you’re enjoying it with close friends. Avoiding cigarettes for a week isn’t so intimidating when you’re supported by your most-trusted friends at work. Let us show you how we get employees to “just try it on and see if they like it.” Because our programs are inviting, a little edgy and outside-the-box, and non-threatening, employees muster the courage to get out on the dance floor. We turn the banal into the extraordinary and capture their intrinsic motivation.

2. Peer pressure prevails

Eric Hoffer asserts, “When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.” Nothing persuades or subconsciously influences our behavior more than the people who comprise our social networks. The cajoling and compliments, the rejection or acceptance, the approval or criticism by our peers does more to assist or destroy our change efforts than any other source. Since our Genesis, Sonic Boom has harnessed the power of peer pressure, embraced it, nurtured it, and amplified it through every facet of our programming. We appreciate the power employees hold over one another, and instead of shying away from it, we turn up the volume.

3. Extrinsic rewards

We’re about to tread on dangerous turf. Tales of well-intentioned rewards (i.e. bribes in disguise) that backfire are legion. The principal cause of these flops is that wellness providers attempt to influence behavior by using rewards as their primary motivational tool. External rewards should come last – a distant last- if at all. First, we must ensure that the health behaviors we ask our members to do each day are intrinsically satisfying. Next, we must dial up the social support. Once our members feel internally satisfied and socially supported, the need for outside rewards evaporates. At Sonic Boom, we never use incentives to compensate for poor programming. Many of our clients offer $0 financial rewards, yet enjoy over 60% sustained engagement.

4. Perfect practice makes perfect

We never make the assumption that when people don’t change, it’s simply because they don’t want to change. More often than not, people lack the ability to make the desired change rather than lack the motivation. By ability we mean the learned skills and vital behaviors that can only be mastered through deliberate practice. People who are better at avoiding chocolate are not more motivated, they are more skilled because they have practiced techniques to postpone immediate gratification. We know that prowess comes from practice – deliberate, perfect practice of vital, healthy behaviors every day.

5. It takes a village

Groups do better than individuals – at almost everything. Making profound changes in health habits requires a village of supporters. You can’t do it in isolation. You may think that sticking to your diet is a matter of individual will, but you’d be wrong to think that you’re all alone. Your friends, and even the friends of your friends, subconsciously influence all the health-related choices you make – even when no one is watching. Sonic Boom knows that by reinforcing employees’ natural instincts to band together, their cooperation leads to stronger results than if they retain their rugged individuality.

6. Control the environment

We are all products of our environment. Yet, most companies don’t realize that it’s far easier to change the environment than their employees’ behaviors. The idea is to make healthy choices a little easier and unhealthy choices harder. A drab, poorly lit stairwell will hardly get used, but what if you implemented a “stairwell beautification” project, hanging art on the walls, adding some colorful paint, bright lights, and snazzy carpeting? If you like that idea, then let us help you change the everyday things that surround your people. We won’t come paint your stairwells for you , but we’re loaded with ideas to improve the spaces that surround your workers.

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