I think I am giving new meaning to the phrase “all over the place’ today. It has taken me a few days of a sinus headache, constantly blowing my nose, sneezing fits and being oddly exhausted to think that maybe…just maybe…I am fighting off the cold that is going around. But I have been randomly eating copious amounts of chicken soup lately so it has never blossomed into something that I recognize as a cold. But here I am, looking with lust at my Allergy & Cold Benadryl and unable to consummate our relationship until after I do the Essay broadcast tonight (10 pm EST http://t.co/GVdzxzKv).
I talk a lot about motivation and goals in this blog and I just came across something I have never heard of before that I thought I would share. There is a new kind of motivational web service out that is proving to be highly successful in helping people achieve their short-term goals and, shows signs of creating the motivation to stay on track up to a year after the challenge.
They are called anti-charity sites. You register on the service (for free) and define the goal you want to achieve – say, walk 2 miles a day for 30 consecutive days. Then you return to the site each day to log whether or not you walked that particular day. Some sites require that a third party register (like a friend) and that they are the ones reporting on your actions to keep you more honest. Other sites allow you to self report. Now, you may have used something like this on other sites like, sparkpeople the exercise and nutrition site. They track your progress and award you spark points the more you stick to your plan and send you motivational messages etc to keep you going. The success of that kind of site is ok but not stellar.
Along comes the anti-charity site. Before you begin your goal program, an anti-charity site requires that you deposit a set amount of money with them. Let’s say a dollar a day for the length of time that you want to work on your goal. In this case you would deposit $30 because you want to walk for 30 days. Then, and here is what is making this approach so unbelievably successful – they ask you to select a charity that represents something that absolutely appalls your sensibilities. Let us say that our walker selects the “Puppy Killing for Fun” lobbying group who seeks legislation to force shelters to give up unwanted puppies for sport killing. Everyday our walker does their walk (with their five dogs they treat like their children) and reports it, the site refunds one dollar to them – immediately. Every time the walker fails to take their daily walk the site donates one of their dollars to the Puppy Killers.
Studies are showing that using this kind of motivation is incredibly successful and also sustains a person’s motivation beyond the time frame of the set goal. It is interesting to sit and think about it. And I swear, if I keep procrastinating and rationalizing my way out of some of my goals, I may just try it.
The thing is, what I think makes this so successful, is that it is not about getting the money back, it is about feeling empowered that you can actual do something to prevent something you perceive as being awful from being supported. There are very few ways for people to feel they are being effective these days. While it may seem like it is a pseudo effectiveness, it is actually a very real one. Within the illusion of being effective lies the very real groundwork of change, achieving goals, growth and empowerment. As a person acquires these things they can become more effective in preventing things from happening that are abhorrent.
OMG…all I want is for that one sinus cavity to go on a cruise.
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