As part of my Marketing homework, I’ve been studying online sales sites – you know, those really long web pages that tell you everything possible about a product or service, with a Buy Now button at the bottom of the page.
A feature common to most such sites is Testimonials, usually from people who achieved to-die-for results:
- I made a bajillion dollars in five minutes after I bought this system!
- I lost 100 pounds reduced my body fat to 2% in just six weeks!
- I got over 1000 applications for my new program in one day!
And so on. I’m sure you’ve all seen sites like these. Usually there’s a note tucked discreetly into a dark corner that reminds readers that ‘your results may not be typical.’ Then, I came across this refreshingly candid Disclaimer, on a site that offers a four-phase workout program:
Please read our awesome disclaimer: Due to recent statements from the FTC, it is required that we identify what a “typical” result is. The truth: most people never do anything with the products they buy, so most of the time, their typical results are zero. The biggest factor is you. Don’t do drugs; stay in school. There is no such thing as a Silver Bullet. I bet this disclaimer would make a good rap song
Typical results are ZERO. Wow. Of course, the person who is about to type in their credit card information is thinking, “that’s not me. I’ll do this. I’m not like ‘those other people.’ Really?
I’ve read that over 40% of books purchased never get read, and that rate rises to 75% for books downloaded from the Internet. 29% of patients prescribed antibiotics fail to complete the full course of treatment, often because they forget. Personal trainers report that as many as 25% of appointments are no-shows — even when they’ve already paid for the session!
Fact is, we are creatures of habit, even when our habits hurt us and we desperately want to change them. We truly WANT to exercise more, improve our minds, get well, and manage time better. But unless we pay attention to what we are doing EVERY DAY, our new commitment slowly sinks into the muck of routine.
Make no mistake about it: if you want to change something in your life, you must be persistent. It takes a minimum of 100 repetitions for a new behavior to start feeling ‘normal.’
So … If you want to change your attitude, your fitness level, your time management, your mood, or any other aspect of you, be aware of your human tendency to drift back to old ways. Build in to your process some accountability checks — electronic reminders in your datebook, post-it notes on your bathroom mirror, working with a partner, having a friend check in with you, etc. (shameless commerce division: or hire a coach!)
If you PLAN for regression, and build something into your change process to get you back on track, you’re far more likely to make a lasting change.
As the disclaimer above reads, “The biggest factor is you.”
Don’t be typical.