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!

Rotating Art is a Great Thing

If you haven’t heard the news, we recently had our much-anticipated office move. These days, we’re working out of The Meadows in Framingham, Mass, which is really an awesome building.

One of my favorite things is the art that they have in the hallway. I feel creative as soon as I walk in the door, and since it’s all in the common space between the different companies, I can go wander around and get inspired any time I want.

Apparently they have an arrangement to rent the art from a local museum – and I saw them swapping out the paintings two days ago. There’s a new piece by the sandwich stand that’s super awesome… if I had the money, I’d totally buy it for my place.

I got curious, so I started looking around for programs that allow you to rent art for your home or office. I instantly found that the Seattle Art Museum and the MOMA in San Francisco have programs like this. It seems like a great way to get exposure to a lot of cool modern artists. Anybody have experience with a program like this?

Welcome Readers, New and Old!

After alluding to my redesign intentions ( twice ), I’ve finally gotten around to it. What you’re seeing here is the results of my efforts. Welcome! I’m glad you’ve followed me to the new blog. I have lots of great content that’s been on the back burner for the past month during the redesign, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, don’t forget to update your bookmarks. While you’re at it, subscribe to the new feed ! You can also read more about how this blog is structured , or leave me some feedback . I designed this to be a better experience for my readers, so please, let me know what you think.

Nobody Got the Memo

It may have taken a couple months, but I can finally say I’ve settled in on the east coast. I’m down to two boxes (OK, I’ve been down to two boxes for a month now… which makes me wonder if I actually need whatever is in those two boxes), and I’ve got my apartment arranged more or less the way I want it.

Settling in has come with it’s share of interesting moments. My apartment is half of a 2-story duplex that used to be occupied by the landlords for the complex. The benefit is that they completely repainted and remodeled everything before I moved in! The downside is that nobody got the memo that the landlords moved out.

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Big Update

Wow… long time no blog. Things have been extremely busy in the last month, and only now are things finally starting to settle down. An update is definitely in order.

First of all, I’ve taken a new job, which means I’m no longer at Microsoft. It was really a tough decision to make – there are lots of really exciting things going on at the Developer Division, including I’m sure no fewer than 50 new initiatives that have been launched in the 3 weeks that I’ve been gone. Ultimately it came down to the new job aligning more with my interests and goals, so I decided to shake things up a little bit.

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What a good time it was to see the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie in the theaters. Now that has been released, Facebook has an ad encouraging me to buy it, which says the following:

The ATHF DVD is full of exciting special features including an 80 minute alternate movie, music videos and a new intro.

I’ve heard of alternate endings, but alternate movies? Isn’t that just an additional feature film? Or could this be the next wave of DVD releases?

A Fowl Competition

Sure, I get to see a bit of wildlife around here. Perhaps the occasional duck…

But it’s not holding a candle to what my parents send me from Hummel Park. I’ve posted a few of these shots before (see here and here ), but the latest shot makes me wish that ducks had a little more character.

See what I mean? Ducks are cute, but they never make you laugh quite like turkeys can.

A Day Off From Blogging

It’s Sunday, and I just discovered a handy feature in how this blog is setup – if I post-date a blog entry, it won’t show up on the blog until that date! That’s pretty neat. So even though you’re reading my 4th of July post on the 4th of July, I’m actually taking the day off from blogging today.

Happy Independence Day!

Photography by Zaiss

I don’t really consider myself much of a photographer. More like an amateur picture taker. Point and Click! That’s why I was so surprised today to get an email from the folks at Schmap Seattle Guide asking to use (well, consider) in the third edition of their guide.

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A benefit to living near Juanita Bay is that you get to explore the walking trails nearby. Nothing too fancy, but this weekend the photographers were out in droves to catch three bald eagles that were flying around. Alas, my cell phone camera is far too crappy to catch a bald eagle… but I did manage to snag a mother duck swimming along with her ducklings!