GIST do it! How motivational mechanisms help wearable users develop healthy habits

Yusuf Oc*, Kirk Plangger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Wearable devices and other smart technologies are becoming widely popular as more individuals adopt the goal of improving their health. Users of such devices are exploiting technology in their struggle to combat poor sedentary habits that have been shown to have severe consequences for physical and mental wellness. Using the U-Commerce perspective, this study goes beyond user adoption studies to examine how motivational technology characteristics help users sustain their motivation and acquire habitual behaviors. Specifically, we propose a model that shows how autonomous motivation leads to habitual intentions predicated upon user preferences for different motivational features, namely gaming, instructing, sharing, and tracking (or, as we have termed them, GIST). After developing user preference measures, we empirically test the GIST model in a large sample with diverse characteristics to identify motivational differences by gender and age. We find that autonomous motivation has a significant, fully mediated impact on habitual intentions through the app mechanisms of gamification, instruction, and tracking. Although the mechanism of sharing is still important for habitual purposes, this effect does not significantly change with differences in autonomous motivation. We close with future directions for motivational technology research and health management practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107089
Early online date2 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Gamification
  • Habit formation
  • Motivational technology
  • Tracking
  • U-commerce
  • Wearable devices


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