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How We Used the Science of Habit Formation to Create Our New App

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Meet our new app for Apple Watch, which will help you remember to take your vitamins.
Meet our new app for Apple Watch, which will help you remember to take your vitamins.

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Habit-building: There’s an app for that.

When we first started thinking about building a Ritual app for Apple Watch, a virtual habit companion immediately made perfect sense—after all, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to remember to take your vitamins.

But we also wouldn’t be us if we didn’t make sure it was scientifically optimized—and that meant syncing up the mechanics of our app with the mechanics of the Habit Loop. As a reminder, the Habit Loop is the framework for how habits are formed in our brain, and it consists of three parts: Cue (a trigger that reminds your brain to engage in the habit), Routine (engaging in the habit itself), and Reward (the benefit your brain associates with the habit). With enough repetition, this loop becomes automatic in your brain—and, boom! A habit is born.

So from our POV, the best way to describe how our app works is in relation to the Loop:

Cue: Psst! Your watch buzzes with a reminder to take your vitamins. (Set your reminder for the time you’re most likely to make it a habit, since you can take our vitamins at any time of day.)

Routine: Take your vitamins, and then tap your watch to check off your task for the day.

Reward: As you continue to take your vitamins every day, your streak will continue to grow—and better yet, you’ll get to see how your streak stacks up to other users in your state and across the globe. (Fun fact: Research suggests that friendly competition is a great way to keep us motivated.)

Another reward, in our book: knowing that your multivitamin is helping you meet your nutrient needs. The Ritual app syncs with Apple Health, so you can see how your vitamin is helping you fill the gaps in your diet.

This all said, one big part of habit formation is anticipating setbacks and learning to power through. That’s why you can also look out for tips and pointers from our team to help you troubleshoot along the way—so that your next vitamin-taking streak is your longest one yet. (How about for life?)

The Ritual app is now available on the Apple Watch App Store.

Meet Our Expert

WhoWeAre-Mastaneh

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, VP of Scientific Affairs at Ritual

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is a Registered Dietitian. She received her training from Penn State University and University of Connecticut where she researched dietary patterns, chemosensory perception and community nutrition. Her dietetic work is focused on promoting healthy eating habits by translating the science of nutrition into practical information for the public.

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WhoWeAre-Mastaneh

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, VP of Scientific Affairs at Ritual

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is a Registered Dietitian. She received her training from Penn State University and University of Connecticut where she researched dietary patterns, chemosensory perception and community nutrition. Her dietetic work is focused on promoting healthy eating habits by translating the science of nutrition into practical information for the public.

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Meet the Author

This article was written by our content specialist.

vhoff

Victoria Hoff, Writer

Victoria Hoff is an accomplished writer, journalist, and former wellness editor who has covered a wide variety of health, nutrition, and wellness topics during her tenure. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, and after writing for Vogue, Elle, Byrdie, The/Thirty, and more, channeled her editorial skills into a marketing career.

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vhoff

Victoria Hoff, Writer

Victoria Hoff is an accomplished writer, journalist, and former wellness editor who has covered a wide variety of health, nutrition, and wellness topics during her tenure. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from New York University, and after writing for Vogue, Elle, Byrdie, The/Thirty, and more, channeled her editorial skills into a marketing career.

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