Have you ever set a goal that you wanted to accomplish, only to give up after a few days or weeks? How about a New Years resolution? If you are like me, your probably set a bunch of different goals each year, but are only successful on attaining a small percentage.
Most of my goals are not huge. For example, this year, I wanted to make sure that I traveled more frequently, played more soccer, read more books and learned how to cook at least one new dish per month, to name a few. I have done some of them, but all of them and wanted to try to find ways to give myself incentives to actually complete them. I was reading the Freakonomics blog the other day and remembered an old post about a new website designed to help you follow through.
StickK.com, a website founded by Freakonomics contributor by Ian Ayres and two of his Yale collegues, allows you to set a goal, a completion date and puts some teeth behind failing to complete your goal. They came up with a “commitment contract” to help make sure that you follow through on your goal. From their site:
Entirely unique to each person, a Commitment Contract obliges you to achieve your goal within a particular time-frame. Not only are you challenging yourself by saying “Hey, I can do this,” you’re also putting your reputation at stake. If you are unsuccessful, we’ll let your friends know about it.
Oh but wait, there’s more…
Sometimes losing face with your friends might not be enough to keep you on track. So, what is the one thing no one can stand to part with? You guessed it! Cold hard cash.
As a true test of your commitment, stickK will let you put your money on the line for any Commitment Contract. Achieve your goal and you don´t pay a thing (and you´re much happier than before, aren´t you?).
But if you aren’t successful, you forfeit your money to a charity, an anti-charity or even that neighbor who keeps stealing your newspaper.
Adding money into the situation is a really interesting idea, but the idea of an “anti-charity” is what makes this website unique and innovative. For example, if you are a hardcore Republican and you want to lose 15 pounds, you can make your contract say that you will donate $100 to a gun control advocacy if you do not achieve your goal. The anti-charity adds so much added motivation for you to complete your goal. If you fail, you are not only letting yourself down and spending money, but you are helping a cause that you do not like.
I decided to try it out today to see if it works and set up an account. They only have a few anti-charities, so I used the “friend or foe” option. Since I am a proud UW grad and a huge Badger sports fan, if I do not achieve my goal, I will donate $200 to the University of Michigan Athletic Department. I will keep you updated if I accomplish my goal or if the University of Michigan Athletic Department will get $200 of my hard earned money.
Do you think StickK is a good idea? What anti-charity would you donate to?