What is
How to create a
commitment contract

How to create a commitment contract

Step One: Choose your goal
Ok, this part is more or less self-explanatory. Just click on one of the popular commitments on our list, or custom-design your very own personal goal. (e.g. “Learn to be a contortionist so that I can have a crack at stardom with the Cirque de Soleil.”) Next, select one of these two commitment categories, which will determine the contract structure:

(1) The one-shot commitment
(available for smoking and custom goals only)

For example, you commit to finishing your Master’s thesis by March 1st. Between the time of contract signing and March 1st, you can work on the thesis at any pace you like. At deadline time, you file a report. If you completed the thesis on time, you report that you succeeded. If you didn’t finish, you report that you failed.

(2) The ongoing commitment
(available for all goals)

For example, you commit to writing five pages of your Master’s thesis every week, for a period of 20 weeks. At the end of each week, you file a report. If you wrote the five pages, you report success. If you didn’t , you report failure. For an ongoing commitment, you select the time frame of your choice, to a maximum contract duration of 52 weeks.

Often, the nature of your goal automatically dictates the commitment category, because the goal can be accomplished only one way. Other goals can be pursued either way, so choose whichever method you think will work best for you. (If you’re a procrastinator, opt for ongoing!) Please note that you cannot choose the one-shot category if your goal is weight loss. (So forget crash-dieting right before the deadline!) This goal is an ongoing commitment only, because the slow and gradual approach is the safest way to lose weight.

Step Two: Choose your stakes
Your stakes are what you’re willing to wager on your impending success or failure: your valuable reputation….or that, PLUS the valuable contents of your wallet. If you choose to put money on the line, then this is where you decide how much, and who will get the money if you fail to keep your commitment.

Financial stakes work two ways, depending on whether your goal is one-shot or ongoing.

(1) The one-shot commitment

Let’s say when you create the contract, you decide to risk $500, choosing your roommate as the recipient of the money, should you fail. If you succeed, we mail you a $500 check. If you fail, we mail a $500 check to your delighted roommate, who is already online, spending her unexpected – but very much appreciated -- windfall.

(2) The ongoing commitment

Let’s say you commit to exercising four times a week, for a period of 8 weeks. When you create the contract, you decide to put $25 at stake each week, with the money going to charity if you fail. You pay stickK the 8-week total of $200 up front. Then each week that you don’t exercise four times, we deduct $25 from your account balance to send to charity. Whatever balance is left in your account at the end of the 8 weeks goes back to you. If you’ve managed to stickK with the program, you’ve regained a tidy sum which you can now use to reward yourself with new clothes for that now svelte body of yours!

You have three recipient options:

(1) Charity

Click here to see the list of charity beneficiaries

We do not give you the satisfaction of telling you to which particular charity your money went because it is a disincentive in achieving your goal. To minimize our overhead costs, we pool all failed commitment money and send it to a number of charities at the end of each quarter.

stickK currently sends Charity Stakes to the following charities:

As a result, we do not provide charitable donation tax receipts (we do not claim the tax deduction in your place). TrackKing everyone’s dollar would send our accounting costs skyrocketing!

PLEASE NOTE: We want to be clear on this issue. 100% of the failed money, minus all Paypal fees, goes to the charities (or anti-charities). stickK does not take any cut whatsoever (although if we need more money to keep the site going we may have to change this policy at some point!). And because our goal is full transparency, we are audited quarterly by an independent auditor and post each quarter’s donations on the site for you to see.

(2) Anti-Charity

You select a cause you don’t believe in from the list we provide. Are you a proponent of gun control? Then make the National Rifle Association Foundation your recipient, and know that your failure is serving to defend the right to bear arms! The less you believe in the cause, the harder you’ll work to succeed at your goal! In this case, you know exactly to which cause your money went.

We currently offer the following organizations as Anti-charities:

(3) Friend or Foe

You designate someone you like or dislike to receive the money, should you fail (choosing someone you despise…perhaps an in-law…provides the best incentive for success). We then notify the person via email and request their mailing address, so that we can send them a check. If the recipient declines the money or doesn’t respond to repeated emails within a week, we send the money to charity instead.

PLEASE NOTE: In the case of friend or foe, 100% of the failed money, goes to the friend or foe.

And in ALL cases, you get 100% of the success money you are owed.

Step Three: Choose your Referee
Your Referee is the person you designate to hold you accountable to your goals. You can choose a friend, family member or colleague. It helps if your ref is someone you hate to disappoint; someone who’ll stickK it to you if you start slacking! Being accountable to someone other than yourself gives you that extra push and is a proven tool for success.

When you report success, your ref’s job is to confirm the accuracy of the report. (If you report failure, there’s no need for the ref to confirm it.) If you report success when you actually failed, and your ref blows the whistle on you and reports failure, then we count the week as a failure. And if you neglect to file your weekly report, you get an automatic failure for that week.

If you report success and your referee neglects to file a report, it is considered a success.

If you trust yourself implicitly and absolutely insist on going at it alone, under the alternate honor system, we do accept success reports without Referee confirmation. We just don’t encourage it.

Step Four: Choose your Supporters
These are friends, family members and colleagues who you designate to support and encourage you in your goal. They receive updates on your progress as you make your weekly reports and journal updates. They can respond by sending you messages of encouragement. Never underestimate the guilt factor: the more people to whom you are accountable, the greater the chance you’ll succeed. So surround yourself with Supporters who you won’t want to let down!

What is stickK
How to create a commitment contract
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