If you remember my goal of consistency in May, I have to confess that I started out very well, but faded at the end of the month. The last week of May I didn’t run once, and for most of the month, I didn’t keep up with my morning and evening routines.
It’s frustrating to realize that despite my best intentions I couldn’t stick to the simple tasks I set before myself. But I found a solution. It’s called StickK.com.
On this website, you put your money where your mouth is (or your mop or running shoes or whatever). You make a commitment, and you put money on whether or not you keep your contract. Your money either goes to a specific person, a charity, or an “anti-charity” (an organization that you would never, ever give money to willingly).
You can announce your commitments on facebook or twitter to your friends. You can recruit a referee to keep you honest. But you don’t have to.
I made 3 commitments for the summer. One of which isn’t really a commitment to do something as to NOT do something, so I don’t think it’s too much at a time.
1. No TV for the summer. If I cheat the rules that we set up, I have to give Caleb (my son) $100 at the end of the summer. I’m not big on giving kids money that they haven’t earned, so I’m pretty motivated to keep my end of the bargain.
2. Run 5 days a week for at least 15 minutes. Ideally I’d like to run for at least 30 minutes, but I wanted to make it easy enough that I wouldn’t get discouraged and quit. I mean, 15 minutes isn’t anything.
A couple of days I’ve had to do my run in the evening after my dinner settled a little, but I’ve stuck to it. If I don’t get the 5 runs in for the week, then I have to pay $5 to a charity on Sunday.
3. Do my morning and evening routines: specifically…
Morning-wipe down bathroom, do laundry (either starting a load, hanging to dry, or folding), put away the dishes in the drying rack (no dishwasher), 25 crunches, 15 pushups, work in the basement
Evening-wash every dirty dish, wipe and clear table and counter, vacuum the living
Very, very simple routines. I purposely only put 25 crunches and 15 pushups (knee pushups at that), because I couldn’t possibly say that would take too long or be too challenging. If I feel like doing more, then I do more, if not, at least I did SOMETHING.
I have to do these routines every single day, without fail, otherwise I give $5 to a charity.
These sort of commitments are very effective for me. I made a bet like this with my cousin one time about not eating any sugar for the month (every time we ate sugar we had to pay the other person $5), and I didn’t touch a drop of the white stuff.
I didn’t choose a referee to keep me honest, because the only person that would really know whether or not I was keeping my commitment (without me telling them) is seven years old.
I purposely kept the amounts low. I figured 5 dollars was enough of a penalty to be a deterrent, but not so much that I would be tempted to lie about my progress.
There have been lots of times in the week and a half since I started this that I didn’t feel like doing X, but I did it anyway, because I had to. It’s not so much the $5, though I hate to spend money; it’s more what the five stands for. Going on the website, and clicking that I didn’t make my goal this week, the ridiculously easy goal that I set for myself, is painful to think about. So instead, I get on the floor and do my pushups, and I get out the door and run despite the big dinner I ate an hour ago, because I will not admit failure.