The 52 Project was created from an idea that Dulcie had running up to Christmas 2020. She pitched the idea to Iain (who was lost on a dog walk at the time) who was straight on board and then got Jen involved to get the technical stuff sorted.
The 52 Project moved quickly from being a solo lockdown idea into a wonderful community styled science project where friends, family and complete strangers came together and explored everything – well-being tips that were famous old wives’ tales and niche items from the Internet or science journals, to, “I’ve just done this thing, it sounds a bit strange but…” It was collaborative, informative and most of the Instagram Lives provided a moment of jeopardy as we wrangled with connections, those at home with us and the weather.
Every tip had to meet our criteria before we considered it for a place in the project. It had to be:
1) Easy to do
2) Accessible for anyone
3) Cheap or free
4) Stackable with other tips
5) Have definite scientific back-up.
Each week looked into which #Tips had real scientific legs and which were snake oil. We asked our testers to try them in real life and to give us their #Tips about how to make them stick for real people in the real world. To find which were worth five minutes of your time and which weren’t.
Play, Pass, Pay
We knew that the nature of a collaborative, community project meant that not every tip would suit every tester – but we reckoned that even if the tip wasn’t for you, you probably knew someone who’d really get it. We were also determined that no-one should feel any form of guilt about not trying a tip – or trying it once and thinking it really wasn’t their thing. We talked a lot in our early blogs about how guilt, shame and feeling bad about yourself are proven to make you less likely to succeed when you try to introduce a new good habit or break a bad one – so even if you promise yourself you’ll try a tip and don’t get round to it – that’s ok.
Our Play, Pass, Pay formula was an invitation (as every tip is) for our testers:
In terms of the project, much to our delight, our testers really embraced the ‘Play’ option and shared their involvement with us on social media. We really thought at the begining that more people would take the Pay option – but that wasn’t to be.
DOSE – Personal Prescriptions for a Happier Life
The next step in our project was to create the book. Each tip follows the format of “The Big Idea”, “Got it, What’s the Science?” and “Parting Shots” and our suggestions of other tips you can stack to create your own personal prescription of habits that work for you.
Our ‘formula’ is that you start where you feel comfortable – with a tip that you feel drawn to for whatever reason. Give it a go – see if it works for you. And when we say ‘works’, we mean makes a positive difference to you. A little change for good. From there you might like to try another tip (we’ve made some suggestions but this is about you, not us) and see if adding it in makes more of a difference. If it works, hurrah – add it to your ‘prescription’ that you know you can draw on if things aren’t going quite to plan. Or make it part of your daily routine to help you thrive.
If you feel like passing the tip on, please do so. Buy someone else the book or share the blog. We’d love that.
If you’d like us to explore another tip that you’ve come across and share it with our followers – just get in touch. We’re always up for something new.
If you’d like us to come and talk to your team/colleagues/students (or indeed anyone else!) about the project, we’d love to have a conversation about The 52 Live. Again, just get in touch.
And finally – if you’d like to ‘get out a tip’ because it really isn’t for you and do so by doing a little bit of good for someone else – we’re still fundraising for The Big Issue Foundation because everyone needs a safe space to live.