This is a guest blog post by Sally Lawton.
Slogan: Take a Contract Out on Yourself
Pro: Provides scientifically backed methods for sticking to commitments
Con: Are you really willing to stake money on a resolution?
Make a promise to find a new job, finish a degree on time, or learn a new professional skill, and most of the time, it’ll never happen. There is a lot going against simply resolving something for yourself, but Stickk.com is out to change that. Developed by researchers at Yale University, Stickk creates contracts with yourself, and lets you create the incentive to finish.
While the focus is on smoking cessation, fitness, and weight loss, users can create a plan to meet professional goals, too. Let’s say your plan is to find a better job. You create either a one-shot contract with a firm dead date to find a job in six months, or an ongoing contract to submit 10 resumes a week. For encouragement, you choose a referee. This person – a close friend, family member, or mentor – confirms your success for Stickk.
When first signing up, users commit money: Confirm success, receive a full refund. Fail, and the money goes either to a friend or to a charity (none goes to Stickk). If that isn’t enough to get you to finish, you can always donate your money to someone you don’t like or a charity you oppose. Watch FOX News? Why not set it so that if you fail, your money goes to NPR? It’s a little extra motivation. Soon, Stickk will add a community feature that allows users to find solidarity with others meeting similar goals.
Stickk is a truly unique idea. Everyone makes internal commitments, but actually fulfilling these promises is difficult. Stickk puts goals front and center, and gives you the support system to fulfill them. Of course, the same can be accomplished by asking a good friend to coach you, but having the structure of an organization adds a certain gravitas. Not everyone may be keen on putting their money on the line, but that is sometimes what it takes. When the community features rolls out, Stickk might just help a lot of people get things done.
Bottom line, Stickk is a clever tool for those of us who need a little extra nudge. I might just take a contract out on myself and finish that book I keep picking at.