Three weeks ago, I signed up for stickK.com, a website that helps you keep goals and commitments by asking you to pledge to pay money if you don’t do what you say you’ll do. I blogged about it shortly after I joined.
I pledged to stickK that I would exercise four times a week for 12 weeks. Any week in which I failed to exercise four times I would pay $5 to an “anti-charity” I selected. (That would be an organization that I don’t want to give money to.) At the time I signed up, I gave them a credit card number.
I figured it would be motivating. I was right—I have exercised four times each of the last three weeks because there’s no way that group is going to get my money. But an interesting side effect I’ve noticed is that each of those weeks I’ve exercised no more four times. Somehow it’s had a demotivating effect for doing any extra exercise.
I don’t know why. Once I’ve reached the goal the incentive to do more vanishes. I guess that’s a product of using a negative to motivate me. Hmmm. If I were being paid $5 to exercise four times a week, I wonder if I’d do more than four. I would if I were being paid more for extra effort, I’m sure.
I’ll report back on whether this trend continues and what I make of it. I’d love to hear if anyone has any theories.