How many of you have set a goal, only to find yourself crashing and burning a few months, or weeks, into the effort?
Perhaps it was a goal to stick to your budget, train for a marathon, lose weight, quit smoking…
Yeah, I’m raising my hand too. I could write a lengthy list of all the goals I have set but haven’t met in years past. Not meeting a goal is not only dispiriting, but it often lowers your confidence about setting and meeting future goals. I know it sure has for me.
A couple of months ago, however, I stumbled onto an online tool that has completely changed the way I look at goal setting. The site is stickK.com. And the service, which is completely free and relies on proven research from the field of behavioral economics, makes it three times more likely that you’ll achieve your goals while helping to stop and overcome procrastination.
How it Works
The site makes you put something on the line when you set your goal. It could be money, or your reputation (often both). If you don’t accomplish your goal, there’s a real consequence. Either you lose money, or you lose face with your friends and family (because the site lets them know).
Sounds kind of harsh, right? It might be for some people. But research has proven that being held accountable works. Users have seen tremendous success using stickK because the site forces them to own up to their commitment. Unlike a friend or relative (who probably wouldn’t force you to pay up if you don’t meet your goal), the site can’t be cajoled or reasoned with.
Imagine you want to lose 20 pounds, and you want to keep the weight off for one year. So, you pledge to lose 20 pounds over the next 20 weeks (1 pound per week).
This is where stickK comes in. You fill out a Commitment Contract on the site and pledge to lose 1 pound per week for 20 weeks. Then, you put money on the line. You put, say, $200 in stickk’s escrow account – that’s $10 for every week.
You then log into the site once per week and update your progress. If you haven’t lost one pound that week, then you lose $10.
But you don’t just lose money if you don’t accomplish your weekly goal. The money goes to an organization you really can’t stand, from a list of what stickK calls “anti-charities.” Your money might go to the NRA or the Bill Clinton Library, depending on what you pick as your anti-charity. Below is a current list of these controversial “anti-charities” that you can select from:
- Abortion: Americans United for Life
- Abortion: NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation
- Environmental: Nature Conservancy
- Environmental: The National Center for Public Policy Research
- Gay Marriage: Freedom to Marry
- Gay Marriage: Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
- Gun Control: Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence
- Gun Control: NRA Foundation
- Political: George W. Bush Presidential Library
- Political: William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library
You also have the option to give the money to a random charity, friend or foe, or not have any money on the line at all (although that is not recommended).
So, how does stickK know if you’ve actually lost the weight? Well, you can rely on the honor system. Or you can designate a Referee. This is someone in your life who’s going to monitor your progress and let stickK know if you’re keeping your word.
Does It Work?
If you go by the stats on the site, it would appear that stickK works for a lot of people. Right now, people have put over $5 million on the line to accomplish their goals, and there are over 54,000 active contracts.
I think the idea behind the site is brilliant. Too many times we set a goal, and are wishy-washy about achieving it because there’s no consequences if we fail. Life simply goes on and we aren’t held accountable. stickK can be a great tool to change all of that, especially if your goals relate to health or money. Whether you’re looking to lose weight fast, fit in a daily workout routine for a more healthy lifestyle, set up short term savings goals for purchases using ING Direct, or achieve long term financial and personal goals, I’m sure stickK can help out.
I’ve been thinking about training for a marathon. And if I decide to make this a goal, I’m definitely going to use stickK to hold me accountable. I know that if I put my money, and my reputation, on the line, I’ll be far more likely to stick to my training schedule – particularly if the money I lose will be funding an organization I can’t stand.
Do you think putting money, and reputation, on the line is an effective way to accomplish a goal? Do you think the site would work for you? Have you tried this or a similar system?
(photo credit: lululemon athletica)