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Changing habits is hard. This tech-free program wants to help.

Mashable logo Mashable 8/20/2021 Vicki Retelny
a close up of a box: Changing habits is hard. This tech-free program wants to help. © Provided by Mashable Changing habits is hard. This tech-free program wants to help.

We all have habits we'd like to add to our life, right? But it often feels overwhelming to get started. The Madefor program is based on the principle that each of us living to our full potential can affect change in others. In a world where quick-fix approaches to health and happiness sound promising, but don’t deliver, Madefor is a science-based program designed to foster small, mindful changes that can lead to lasting results.

What is the Madefor program?

You don’t have to look far to find wellness challenges, but Madefor’s unique habit-changing formula is the brainchild of Tom's founder, Blake Mycoskie and former Navy SEAL, Pat Dossett. Predicated on the notion that focused daily practices in one aspect of your life — whether it be to improve sleep, up your movement or observe daily gratitude, MadeFor offers a way to evolve your brain and body for the better. It's a series of ten wellness kits, which offer 21-day challenges that encourage daily tasks to reinforce behavior change. There's also an intro kit, which offers a 7-day hydration challenge, complete with a water bottle and a tracker.

Through a combination of storytelling, real-life examples and practical application, such as journaling, writing and sending postcards and letters, MadeFor kits allow users to get back to basics with analog tools for change. The program combines hands-on activities with digital interfaces with expert advisors, as well as an optional online community that participants can choose to “lean in, on or out as it’s right for you.” The goal? To keep members engaged in a variety of ways to help them grow and develop a resilient mindset.

With an emphasis on top-notch science, tangible action and motivational tools for change, this program taps into proven methods to improve the brain and body. The program comprehensively includes blog posts and live conversations with a myriad of evidence-based experts, as well as members’ experiences on the Madefor website. Thus, members can tap into knowledge along the way about some of the most cutting-edge neuroscience topics to find inspiration and gain new insights along their journey.

The 7-day introductory challenge is $48; a month is $95; or $750 for a 10-month subscription. Just note there's no money-back cancellation policy so you're committed if you pick that. With individual and corporate team plans, Madefor is a 10-month program divided into five kits per semester.

  • Gratitude
  • Nature
  • Connection
  • Breath
  • Hydration
  • Rest
  • Fuel
  • Clarity
  • Vision
  • Movement

How Madefor works

I found it to be simple with elements of sophistication. I picked the Gratitude challenge for testing purposes. The kit arrives in a sturdy box with a simple Madefor logo on the outside. On the inside, there's a sealed envelope instructing you to “Begin your journey here.” Included inside was a detailed instruction pamphlet with daily checklist to track your progress over the 21-day challenge along with a motivational tool — a delicate bracelet to wear as a physical daily gratitude reminder. (Each kit comes with a motivational tool, such a water bottle, sleep mask or an hour-glass to go along with the challenge.)

There was a pamphlet highlighting evidence and anecdotal stories about the physical and mental benefits of gratitude. So, before you embark on the challenge, there’s a good foundation of the ‘why’ behind the challenge. But if you're picking a habit, you likely have your reasons already.

The gist of the Gratitude challenge was to create a daily gratitude practice and through the process, I identified three people in my life, wrote and sent each a gratitude postcard; one person got a hand-delivered letter of recognition for their special contributions in my life. Over the course of 21 days, I jotted down one thing I was grateful for every evening before bed. Did you know that research shows that before bed is supposed to be a prime time to write down positive thoughts as it promotes better and longer sleep?

The challenge made me dig deep and soul search.

It turns out that daily journaling is an evidence-based mood-enhancing practice — the Madefor folks cite specific evidence from a leading gratitude expert, which points to research showing that people who kept weekly gratitude journals were 25 percent happier after 10 weeks.

I also wrote a Silver Lining Essay as part of the challenge. I had to recollect a time in my life when something didn’t go as planned and reframe it in my mind to find a positive “silver lining.” The science behind this challenge was that when you look at the silver lining in a situation you experience “cognitive reappraisal” or a reframing of a once negative situation to a more positive translation. Basically, it's working to train your mind to think differently.

So did it work? The challenge made me dig deep and soul search. It was less about the outside support and more about internal drivers. The power to transform through gratitude practices has been heavily researched and I found that the kit helped me carve out time for daily focus on it.

On a daily basis, the challenge only takes a few minutes for evening gratitude journaling. The postcards, essay and letter take some thought and preparation, but it’s as long as you make it. If you spend time on the online community forum that takes additional time, too. While there is no app for this program, minimal use of devices and small steps toward results are the foundation.

Add to cart?

While it's expensive, the value of each kit is that it’s backed by the latest neuroscience and there are scientific advisors on hand to answer members’ questions. The good news is if you’re not a gadget person, Madefor doesn’t require tech tools, unless you want to engage online with others in the community. Plus, you can work through each challenge individually or as part of a workplace team or other group setting. Like anything worthwhile, you get out what you put in. So if you're having trouble sticking to habits, it's a great tool to keep you accountable.

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