Do you need extra push to do something or remind you not to do something? Pavlov was created by Maneesh Sethi, a blogger who became Internet-famous when he hired a woman to slap him every time he mindlessly opened Facebook. The Pavlok bracelet, which has been beta testing several hundred users, grew out of that experiment. (The company will launch a crowdfunding campaign later this year, Sethi says.)
Users can program the bracelet to change a variety of habits, from opening fewer tabs in their web browser, to meditating every day. Pavlok users assign themselves a goal and choose a “referee,” who gets a text message to check in every day at 7 p.m. If the user hasn’t completed their goal, they get a shock through the bracelet and charged money through the app. If they complete their goal, they get rewards like lottery tickets or money. Sethi says the bracelet starts with punishment for bad behavior, and moves to positive feedback for good behavior over time. “The negative gets you started and the positive keeps the habit going,” he says. “As you start to succeed, you can take away the negative reinforcement and give positive reinforcement. And then the habit comes more automatic and you don’t need it at all.”
This wave of punishing devices may end up with same high abandonment rates as fitness trackers. But in the case of breaking bad habits, abandonment doesn’t mean failure–it could mean users have successfully broken their bad habits and no longer need a device to judge them. Pavlok doesn’t just track what you doIt transforms who you are.If there was one thing you could do, every day for a year, who would you become? Change is hard. We’re held back by distractions, other people, and often ourselves.
But change isn’t impossible. Choose your daily action, and Pavlok will hold you accountable, ensuring lasting success.