Sticking To It

Posted on April 12, 2011


There’s a reason New Year’s resolutions have a low rate of success; it doesn’t cost anything to fail. If not achieving a goal cost money you’d be much more likely to make it happen.

At least that’s the theory of a cool Web site called

The site was created by author Ian Ayres  whose book “Carrots and Sticks: Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done,” is all about finding the right motivational tool to help people achieve their goals. He followed the book with an online creation where anyone can go and announce a goal they want to achieve.

Goal setters can back up their commitments by putting money on the line. Make your goal, get your money back. Fail and the money becomes a donation to a charity of your choice. According to the site’s landing page, more than 70,000 users have put up over $7 million to help them achieve goals.

The results so far include over 1.3 million cigarettes not smoked and nearly 200,000 workouts. But the goal you set can be anything: cleaning up regularly, daily blog posts daily, completing homework or whatever you need to work on. I even saw one person whose goal was being nice to his girlfriend which you would hope wouldn’t require special motivation but hey, whatever works.

The site has some nice features to help goal setters out. There is a nagging service that will send you email reminders. You can also be public about goals and the site will send updates to friends and family members.  You can self-report on your progress or appoint a referee to keep tabs on how you are doing and update the site.

This is a great new tool that could be used for bets between members of a morning team or airstaff. Many jaded listeners may not believe that “bets” made on the radio between talent are ever really paid off. This site would make it transparent. It could also be a fun way to interact with listeners and raise money for charity at the same time by getting them to make commitments on the site.