Wanna kick an annoying habit? Meet your accountability partner.
University of Pittsburgh undergrad James Lomuscio is co-founder of Ludo Mechanica, an Oakland-based startup that is helping professional life coaches assist their clients in quitting unhealthy habits.
LM’s first Android product is called DropKicker
, a text message delivery system designed to bring an end to unwanted, habitual behaviors. Dropkicker works as a mobile app, assisting coaches in keeping tabs on clients who want to stop behaviors like eating too many sweets. Or smoking. Or drinking soda.
While the technology is customized to an individual’s needs, it works through gentle (and often humorous) text messages sent throughout the day, missives that try to determine if temptation or denial is winning out.
People are habitually driven to respond to a text message rather than a push notification, explains Lomuscio. “(A life coach) can’t call to check in on every client several times a day or during the week. DropKicker is an intermediary, a proxy coach.”
Lomuscio, a neurosciences major, has based the system on psychological studies of habit-forming behavior and the effectiveness of certain methods like going cold turkey. A soda junkie himself, he was approaching day 46 without a carbonated beverage during this interview.
As goals are met, the number of text messages may decline. Sneak a smoke, and your proxy coach will buzz you with plenty of feedback. Family and friends are an important part of one’s support team.
For example, turn off the technology during therapy and everyone you know and love will be notified.
“The important thing is to make sure the process feels like fun. We quantify achievement in a funny, fun way,” he says.
Ludo Mechanica has a team of six part-timers and works out of Idea Foundry on Craig Street.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: James Lomuscio, DropKicker