Texting is everywhere. Which got me to thinking: Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app that would leverage SMS to help people support each other in their quests to improve?
Need to lose weight? Get this app. Need to stop smoking? Try this app. Want to do a better job of conserving energy or recycling? This is the app for you and your friends.
But then I thought, “Why bother with an app?” Everything needed to make a virtual support group already exists on our mobile phones. All that is needed are friends, common goals, passion, and a little know-how.
I assume you have the first three. Here’s the how:
Build the Group
1. – What type of people should be in your virtual group?
- They share concern for the issue you’re working on. In fact, it should be a passionate concern!
- They’re within 100 miles (This isn’t necessary, but it’s always a plus if you can sometimes meet in person!)
- You trust these people implicitly, and they trust you!
2.- Group size should be between 2 to 10 people. You can have more but the goal is to support each other. More than 10 and things could get quite unwieldy. Small groups are better for this.
3. - Once you and your friends are committed to this journey, make sure you have each other’s phone numbers.
4. – Create a Group out of your friends’ numbers. This is so you can text everyone at once. Oh sure, you can text the individual people one at a time, but the true power of finding and giving support, lies in the ability to contact everyone at once and the easier this is to do, the better. If you need help doing this you can check out the following references based upon the phone type:
- Blackberry http://kb.iu.edu/data/asvs.html
- iPhone http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/group-text!-mass-text-sms/id377826584?mt=8
- Android https://market.android.com/details?id=com.groupu.android&hl=en
- Other Phones and Services: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2011/04/15/worth-it-group-texts/
5. – It may be worthwhile to write, and store, various ’pre-written’ messages (for example: “I’m feeling weak and really want to eat this!”, “I did it!! I resisted!” or “Just finished exercising – feel gr8!”) But be careful. Correspondence should be authentic and heartfelt. Don’t overuse pre-canned messages!
6, – Now that your group is built, contact each other, via text, at key moments. Here are some examples of times when sharing would be apropos:
- Challenges. When someone in the group feels the urge to eat more than he/she should, or the wrong type of food, or doesn’t feel like exercising, grab one of the pre-written texts, or write one on the spot, and send it to the group.
- Successes. If you’ve just resisted that cigarette, or resisted the “Ice Cream Brownie Fudge Surprise!” share it.
- Did you sneak something from the fridge in the middle of the night? Share it. You need to be open with each other. Remember, you’re in this together to improve not to judge. (No judging!!)
- Come across an article, quote or event that might help you all reach your goals? Send it out!
7. – The group’s reason for existence is to support each other. You are committed to each other. When a text comes from someone in the group, respond. Help each other out. Cheer each other on! It’s the feedback and interaction that will help people meet their goals and grow.
8. – If distance permits, get together in person to touch base, see each other, and smile (or cry). You’re in this together, and you’ll succeed together.
That’s all there is to it!
And remember, this is more than just about weight loss. It’s about helping each other grow and be more!
Please let me know how this goes, or if you meet any specific challenges. I’m especially looking forward to hearing how else this could be applied..