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Stickk.com: Motivate Yourself to Reach Goals by Paying if You Don't
January 18, 2008 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Stickk.com allows people to undertake commitment bonds: promises that they will do something (lose weight, quit smoking, etc.) or else forfeit a pre-determined amount of money to a charity. Either the honor system or a referee can be used to decide if the goal is met. The idea is related to Nobel prize-winner Thomas Schelling's concept of strategic precommitment. More here, here, and here.
posted by shivohum (17 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why can't they just hold the money in escr....oh, to decide if the goal is met, not to determine if we should send the money.

This is a pretty cool idea, but I'd like to see some info on how well it works. The site, I mean, I'm sure the theory is sound.
posted by DU at 7:37 AM on January 18, 2008


Similar, if more sinister, idea sold by ThinkGeek here; an alarm clock that donates money to a cause you disagree via WiFi with each time the snooze button is pressed.
The SnuzNLuz uses the very complex psychological phenomemon known as 'HATRED'.
Yeah, so, the psychology is a bit more simple as well.
posted by youarenothere at 7:40 AM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


got cut off somehow...
...Basically it’s human nature to wish harm upon your enemies. Similarly, it’s human nature not to give your enemies gobs of cash so that they can grow big and dominate the world with their totally wrong, stupid and invalid point of view. ThinkGeek realized that. That’s why everytime you hit the snooze button, the SnuzNLuz will donate a specified amount of your real money to a non-profit you hate. The problem of sleeping in is solved.
Can't argue with that.
posted by youarenothere at 7:42 AM on January 18, 2008


This was also featured on LifeHacker yesterday.

As a gambler, I only feel this would be fun if you could somehow make money when you follow through on a goal.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:42 AM on January 18, 2008


I like the idea but it feels a little too negative. It punishes bad behaviour but it doesn't reward good behaviour.
posted by Memo at 7:44 AM on January 18, 2008


As a gambler, I only feel this would be fun if you could somehow make money when you follow through on a goal.

I think you could probably use their system for that. You want to lose 20 pounds. You bet your friend $50 you can do it before Xmas. She agrees and you find a mutually acceptable referee. Your friend sends StickK the $50. If the referee reports success, StickK sends you the $50.

Except your friend is out the money no matter what, so forget it. Also, you could just do the same thing without StickK in the equation.

Why am I even posting this useless comment?
posted by DU at 7:46 AM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


DU: you each send StickK 50, with whoever wins getting $100. Or you could avoid the webiste altogether. Bigger hurdle in my view: you have to find a friend willing to give you $50 to lose weight.
posted by Hactar at 7:57 AM on January 18, 2008


"As a gambler, I only feel this would be fun if you could somehow make money when you follow through on a goal."

Have a weight loss pool. Each put in $100. Only those who meet the weight loss goal by a particular date can split the pool.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:58 AM on January 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


IfYouDontLose20PoundsIComeToYourHouseAndKickYouInTheNuts.com
posted by ColdChef at 8:00 AM on January 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


The "charity" that StickK users donate to could be a fund to reward significant goals that are met. The system would need laborious oversight though, to ensure that goals that receive a payout were actually met and were significant enough to merit a fiscal reward.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 8:03 AM on January 18, 2008


ColdChef, I'd suscribe to that. I don't have nuts though... how about a wet willie? God, I hate those.
posted by spec80 at 8:04 AM on January 18, 2008


Or what dances_with_sneetches said.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 8:09 AM on January 18, 2008


More from economist Tim Harford, who used Stikk to force himself to do 200 sit-ups a week. A little more follow-up -- the key is that a donation to a charity you like means that there's less incentive to cheat.
posted by patricio at 8:28 AM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


We did a weight loss pool at work over the holidays (whoever didn't gain weight split the pot), and it went so well that we're doing another now (to lose ten lbs before spring). I don't think that I'd work if I had to give money to a charity I supported.
posted by amarynth at 8:48 AM on January 18, 2008


It's kind of weird they don't let you choose a charity on one hand because "it's too hard to keep track", but then they let you choose specific anti-charities like the NRA.
posted by smackfu at 8:51 AM on January 18, 2008


Quite possibly the best motivator I've ever actually experienced personally was "That sonofabitch rode today, therefore I must ride today. There is no other option." (No offense meant, Jeff - I imagine you know what I mean.)
posted by Wolfdog at 10:38 AM on January 18, 2008


youarenothere: that is an evil invention. I would get up early for a while, and then one morning I would smash it with a hammer and end up late for work. This product may not be for me.
posted by agentofselection at 3:36 PM on January 18, 2008


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