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Take a Contract out on Yourself on StickK.com

The best way to achieve your goals, according to a new website, is to “put a contract out on yourself.”

The website, StickK.com, isn’t suggesting that you have yourself killed if you don’t meet your goals. Instead, StickK is a system — designed by a group of Yale economists — that allows you to lose real money if you don’t achieve a certain target, like shedding 10 pounds, quitting smoking, or exercising daily. According to StickK.com, you’re two to three times as likely to accomplish a goal with a "commitment contract."

Here’s how it works. You register with StickK, provide them a credit card, then enter a goal — for example, exercising three times a week. For the next month, you tell StickK, you’ll stake $30 -- or some other amount -- for every week you don’t achieve your exercise goal. You tell StickK your spouse will be the “referee” — he or she will judge your success or failure. For an added incentive, you also decide to make your commitment public, so your friends can see whether you’ve accomplished your goal.

And this is where it gets even more interesting. Let's say you support gun control. So you tell StickK that if you don’t accomplish your goal, you want all the money you’ve put down to go to the National Rifle Association. (Conversely, if you are against gun control, the money could go to the Fund to Stop Gun Violence.)

StickK then deducts $120 (4* $30) from your account on Paypal or from your credit card. If you accomplish your goal every week, you get all the money back. If you don’t, then for every week that you didn't accomplish your goal, $30 goes to the NRA. (Of course, you can also have the money go to a friend, or a charity you support, as well as what StickK calls an “anti-charity.”) How’s that for an incentive to accomplish your goal?

(Also posted on The Efficient MD.)
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About the Author


Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.