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Special Project

Special Project
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

21 Days

Winner in Fitness, Health, & Wellness

Audience Honor in Fitness, Health, & Wellness

About this entry

Let's face it, we all possess at least one bad habit that we can't seem to ditch. And the pandemic hasn't helped. While more time spent at home has led to certain perks for some of us like midday walks with our dogs and virtual meetings in sweatpants, it has without question led to a new wave of terrible habits, regardless of our circumstances. 

Some habits are irrefutably unhealthy, like smoking, and many are seemingly innocuous but turn out to actually pose massive risks to our health over time, like sitting at our desk. So Health saw an opportunity to lend their expertise and trusted network of board-certified health professionals to help people in dire need rid these habits and replace them with better, healthier ones. Simultaneously, Health looked to inform the viewers on the negative impacts of certain habits and present tips to turn them around.

However, instead of going down the beaten path of a talking head series hosted solely by a medical professional, we decided to make the content feel more personal and human by educating the audience through the POV and experiences of real-life people on a journey to rid their bad habits.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

It has been believed that it takes 21 days to break a habit and/or form a new one. This belief was stemmed from a widely popular book published in 1960 called 'Psycho Cybernetics" by Dr. Maxwell Malts. While breaking a bad habit and starting a new one may not be as clear cut as 21 days, we decided to use this theory as the timeframe for our protagonist's journey in each episode of our series and see how much progress can actually be made in just 3 weeks. 

That said, our strategy was straightforward:

  1. Online Spending - Consumers spent $792 billion w/ US merchants which was more than 32% higher than 2019
  2. "Revenge Bedtime Procrastination" / "Coronasomnia" - The number of people with any form of insomnia increased 37% from pre-pandemic levels
  3. Sitting/Slouching for too long aka "Dead Butt Syndrome" - Americans were/are spending 4 more hours per day sitting than pre-pandemic times
  4. Vaping - From 2020 to 2021, total e-cigarette sales increased by nearly 50%
  5. Social Media overuse - Social Media engagement was up 61% during the first wave of pandemic (Americans spend an average of 1,366 hours a year on social media = roughly 54 days per year)


There was some sweat and there were some tears, but with the help of our board-certified health professionals, each person in our series made tremendous progress towards kicking their unhealthy habits to the curb and estabalishing new, healthier ones in three short weeks.

In the end, we learned that the journey to better health, whether it be physical, mental, or financial, is not an easy one, nor is it a short one -- it's an ongoing effort with no particular end date.

Additionally, the approach to cast real-life, everyday people and follow their journey worked. Our viewers connected with the series more than ever!



Video for 21 Days

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Health (a Dotdash Meredith brand)


Entry Credits