Getting fitter and sticking to a workout plan can take Herculean amounts of effort, and it’s all too easy to sack if off, slump onto the sofa and zone out to The Great British Bake Off instead.
What you need is a gun. Or maybe an abortion. Or possibly a gay marriage.
To explain: stickK.com is a US-based website that forces you to either stick to your fitness commitments, or lose out financially. You sign up, select a goal for yourself (to exercise three times a week for 20 weeks, for example), and name a Referee who’ll oversee your efforts. You then decide what your financial forfeit will be every time you fail to stick to your commitment.
You decide what your financial forfeit will be if you fail to stick to your commitment
Now, you can, if you wish, sign up to have a pre-specified amount debited from your account to that of a charity. Of course, that puts you in a bit of a weird moral quandary – yes, you’ll be sticking to your workout plan, but every time you hit the gym, a charity loses out on a donation.
So every time you work out, a kitten dies – perhaps literally so, if your charity is an animal-welfare shelter.
Arguably a better option: you can, alternatively, choose to make your forfeited donations to an “anti-charity” – that is, a cause that you’re 100% against. Your options include pro-life and pro-choice pressure groups; pro- and anti-gun-control organisation; and charities working both for and against the acceptance of gay marriage.
What could be more motivating, than keeping your money out of the hands of your sworn ideological enemies? Better get laced up and go run that 5k sharpish, lazy bones!
stickK.com (the second K is the shorthand symbol for a contract, in legal writing) is the brainchild of Dean Karlan, an Economics professor at Yale University, Ian Ayres, a Law professor at Yale University and Jordan Goldberg, a student at Yale School of Management.
Through studies they’ve undertaken, Karlan and Ayres found that, amongst subjects who’d set themselves a long-term commitment, those who allowed their progress to be monitored by a referee were twice as likely to achieve their goals as those who didn’t – and those who allowed themselves financial stakes were three times more likely to succeed.
People often give into immediate gratification – e.g. eating a doughnut – at the expense of long-term goals
“What behavioural science tells us is that we are loss-averse, social animals that make decisions in a time-inconsistent manner,” reckon stickK. “Simply put, we hate losing things, and will often give into immediate gratification – e.g. eating a doughnut – at the expense of our long term goals.
“Research has identified two factors that effectively help people achieve the behaviour change they desire: incentives, and accountability.
“Studies show that financial incentives and accountability get people to do stuff. That’s why stickK works so well – stickK helps its users leverage the power of incentives and accountability, and is empirically proven to increase our users’ chances at success by up to three-fold.”
Long story short…
For further details, visit stickk.com
And if that all seems a touch extreme, here’s Olympic athlete David Matthews with some less anger-based motivational tips…