Commitment Via Contracts?

I read about stickK this morning on TechCrunch , and I was instantly intrigued. The quick explanation is that the site, like many others, helps you to set and track goals. Some of the big ones listed are losing weight, exercising more, quitting smoking, etc.

What sets stickK apart is that, as you set up a goal, you set up a contract with yourself. And you put money against it. So every week you don’t make progress to your goal, you have to pay up (all the money goes to charity). The contract is legally binding, so once you sign up, you’re in it for the long haul.

I love this concept. I’ve been trying to get back on the 20/20 program since I moved to Boston, and incorporating a contract forces a few things into the equation:

  1. Preparation . It’s easy to say, “I’ll start tomorrow.” But have you taken the necessary steps to get there? I almost set up a contract this morning, and realized, “Oh crap! I better go grocery shopping and get everything I need to really make this happen first.”
  2. Accountability . They give you a buffer to enter your information every week, but you have to do it every week. If you don’t, it counts as a week where you didn’t meet the goal, and you pay up.
  3. Drive to stick with it . The contract is binding until you meet your end goal. So giving up because of one bad week really isn’t an option. I think the contract refocuses the problem in a positive way: It pushes you to brush off bad weeks and get right back up again, which is so critical when you’re trying to meet a difficult, long-term goal.

So I’m going to give it a try. Ask me how it’s going in a month. If I’ve paid out a ton of money, I’ll probably be unhappy. But as stickK’s founders say, money is a great motivator!

What do you think?