Jan. 3 (RIA Novosti) For some, New Year’s resolutions barely make it past New Year’s Day. But for those with a little more grit, there is a new slew of mobile apps and interactive websites – including some offering financial incentives – designed to help them stick to their goals.
“It’s a simple idea based on just increasing the price of your vice, and this is a technique people use all the time,” said Yale University Economics Professor Dean Karlan, co-founder of StickK, a website that allows people to sign contracts for achieving their personal goals – and pay up when they don’t make it.
“We say we want to lose weight, but when a temptation, say chocolate, is presented to us, we opt with the short term temptation,” he added.
StickK and other websites and mobile apps like it use a variety of techniques, ranging from the honor system to trusted, third-party “referees,” electronic monitoring and even strictly-controlled certification by doctors, to verify whether or not goals have been met and whether payouts or fines are due.
A financial loss raises the price, so to speak, “so when that temptation presents itself, succumbing is more expensive,” said Karlan.
According to StickK, the result of their work is 2.5 million cigarettes that haven’t been smoked, more than 300,000 workouts completed and $12.2 million that have been pledged.
Other sites and apps offer cash to successful participants.
At Healthywage.com, participants pay $150 and have six months to lose 10 percent of their body weight… those who make it win $300. Other plans offer $1000 for individuals and $10,000 for teams that lose weight.
“The thought of a cash prize was an excellent incentive,” wrote one participant whose team lost 214 pounds, according to the corporate website. “I told my kids that if my team won we would go to Disneyland,” he added.
GymPact is a website and an app that lets participants cash in every time they check in at the gym… and pay up when they miss. Users decide how many days they want to hit the gym each week – the least they can choose is one – and what they’re willing to pay as a penalty if they don’t make it – with a minimum of $5. Those who do get to the gym get a small cash reward for every workout, paid for by those who didn’t go.
Lose It! is an app and a website that helps people keep track of everything they eat, the number of calories they’ve taken in, and the amount of exercise they’ve completed each day, all with specific targets in mind.
The Habit Factor is an app that breaks long-term goals into manageable, smaller tasks, and tracks your success.
The Gratitude Journal is a website and an app designed to improve positive thinking. “Write down five things you are grateful for each day in your Gratitude Journal and your life will change forever,” it promises.
An estimated 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions every year, but roughly half of them experience “infrequent success,” according to the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania’s Journal of Clinical Psychology .
“People do things all the time that don't match their long-term goals,” said Karlan.
“At any point in time many of us are tempted by things in the short run and figure what harm will this little deviation really have – I'll get started tomorrow. But if you add financial incentives, or somehow make it more costly to give in to temptation, you significantly increase your chances of success.”
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Cuba’s New Trademark: Multicolored Vintage Cabs
Infographics: Global Warming: Predicting Future Disasters
Cartoons: Polar Explorer Day
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is one of the most important foreign policy initiatives taken by Russia along with five other countries. Both Russia and China want to reduce the threat of separatism and western influence in the region. Emergence of SCO provoked new international order.