My wife recently started an account with a website called StickK.com. The concept of the site is to make a goal, and attach some sort of financial liability to it. It is a way to encourage a little bit of extra incentive to attain your goals.
The website is founded upon the idea of a commitment contract, making it more likely that a person would follow through and achieve what they set out to do. Setting a goal and then selecting what type of penalty you will incur if you fall short of it is supposed to help motivate a person to "stickk" with it. The system uses "Referees", a third-party to validate that you are being honest with your submissions, and can have supporters sign up and encourage you through the process.
The key to the system is in its penalty process. You link a credit-card, and decide what your weekly penalty will be if you fall short. In Ellie's case, each time she doesn't attain the weight-loss goal she is after, she is docked five bucks. One strategy that they recommend is selecting the recipient of that penalty to be an anti-charity, or someone who you really do not want to give money to. Maybe you find a crazy-cult-neo-nazi-terror-loving-animal-abusing church group that accepts donations. It is pretty good motivation to attain your goal to avoid payment to them. Alternatively, you can select a friend or family member, or a respectable charity like the SPCA or whatever.
What I Like
I really like the fact that despite my best effort, I couldn't find a single way to opt-out of the contract once you submit it. I felt Ellie set her goals a little bit lofty, and there is no way to revise the contract once submitted. This is actually something that I like now thinking back, because it really holds you accountable to what your initial goal is. Just be careful to make it something attainable
What I Don't Like
The monetary system is pretty well documented, but I am always just a little bit apprehensive handing out a credit card that will be charged, possibly routinely. We have not had any issues what-so-ever over the past several months, and I don't anticipate having any, but this could be a barrier to entry for a lot of people. I'd rather give them a lump sum of money first, and have it refunded when successful.
I think this is a legitimate idea and I encourage everyone to check it out. It might provide that extra incentive to achieve your goals. And hey, 2 Fat Nerds is looking to upgrade our server set-up, so feel free to make us a recipient! (Only partially kidding!).
I think the idea overall is pretty awesome though. What do you guys think about it? Is a monetary-contract something that would motivate you to achieve your goals?
I’ve lost ten bucks so far and really wish I had tried harder (because I totally could have attained that goal if I really had tried).
This contract really pushes me to think about everything I’m doing, be it exercising, eating out, lazying it up, etc. My weigh-ins for StickK are on Friday, and with the Biggest Loser weigh-ins on Wednesday, I have no time for Binge Wednesday anymore. I like to think my waistline is thanking me. So if anyone signs up for this along with the BL challenge, I suggest picking a day other than Wednesday for your StickK weigh-in. It adds in more accountability.
The only thing I keep waffling over whether I like or don’t like is the deadline extension. If you miss your weigh-in, you get 48 hours to submit a weight until they automatically dock you the money. So if I have a bad weigh-in on Friday, I can spend that night exercising and eating right to try to meet the goal for Saturday. While I appreciate the chance to make up what I haven’t lost, it’s almost too much of a get-out-of-jail-free card.
You know what though, having a little bit of slack is nice, because you do take the opportunity to get back on track immediately, rather then punting and giving up for a week.
I tried Stickk. I lost $600 and got nothing out of it. I signed up at the recommendation of a 6-week course I was taking (from a 3rd party), but I had to drop out of the course in the first week. I forgot about Stickk. It was there when I signed up that I was on the hook for $100 per week in big bold letters, but the “per week” spot faded from my memory. When I was going through my finances for tax time, lo and behold I was out $600. They continued to charge me $100 per week for 6 weeks … and here’s the part I’m upset about … with absolutely no reminders, no notice, no e-mails, no receipt, no “hey, dude, it’s odd that you have never so much as clicked a button as we keep taking your money”. Legally it’s my problem. Ethically, I think they are sketchy.
I’ve contacted them. So far they have quoted me “terms of service” and “it’s been too long” and “we told you what we were going to do”. They said I was supposed to have received notices … but I did not. If they do respond a little better I’ll come back and let you know.
But in summary … be careful. It’s just another web site that profits from distraction and forgetfulness, ironic for a site that’s supposed to help with that exact thing.