How to create change one behavior at a time.

How to Get Your Office Active

When our VA office held its first 2k meter indoor rowing competition, the stats were pretty impressive: 

  1. Jabari 8:06
  2. Zack 8:07
  3. Mikhail 8:08
  4. Robert 8:18
  5. Peter 8:52
  6. Meg 8:57
  7. Lindsay 9:14
  8. Alyssa 9:36
  9. Karen 10:04

Before you ask, the answer is no, we don't exclusively hire former collegiate crew members at Marketing for Change. We’re just a regular bunch of casually active office workers trying to have some fun and ward off the extra pounds.

So how did this competition lead to our Research Director working so hard to beat his time, he nearly keeled over on his final 100 meters? (Don't worry, he's fine. We're never going to let him live that down, though). What made us so committed that our developer started selling secret techniques to those with the right bribe?

It’s a little something we like to call the Fun, Easy, Popular approach. Oh cool, you’ve heard of it. Here are six of fourteen behavioral determinants I used to help my co-workers stay fit & healthy and become rabid rowing competitors

The Office Rabies Fun Run


  • Environment: Request an office gym as part of your annual review. Once successful, begin campaigning for an office cat. 
  • Control: Build the gym with the help of your co-workers. Allow everyone to weigh in on choices for exercise equipment and features like wall paint and floor material. 

gym opening in DC office

  • Skills/Knowledge & Efficacy: Host a gym opening ceremony / happy hour. Teach everyone how to use the new equipment, let them try it out and experience just how easy it really is. 
  • Rewards: Once people know how to use it, host a friendly rowing machine competition. Rely on the most competitive of the bunch to kick it off and keep the momentum going. Everyone wants to be a winner, even if it means beating their own goal.
  • Feelings: Sit back and watch as people get a high off of their victories, reach their goals, challenge one another and accomplish what they never thought physically possible. Notice how those feelings of accomplishment feed rewards.

What’s next? Relay races. And who knows, perhaps by this time next year we’ll be sweeping down the Potomac in a real boat. We are now accepting nominations for chief coxswain.  

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