Would Putting Money On the Line Make You Work Out More?

January 7, 2012 | By | Comments (0)

We all know that most New Year’s resolutions fail —particularly those of the whole “I’m gonna work out every single day!” variety.

But what if you put more than just that mental promise on the line and make each missed workout cost you $5, $10, or even $20 bucks? (The minimum is $5.)

That’s the premise behind a intriguing new program called Gym-Pact, developed by two recent Harvard grads, surely aware of the mounting “behavior economics” research that affirms that money is a stronger motivator than nearly everything else. (StickK.com is a great example—a way to stay committed to a range of goals)

The program works like this: You sign up (it’s free) and choose how often you want to work out that week, and what the monetary consequence will be for skipping a session—be it $5 or more. Using your iPhone (compatibility with other devices is coming soon) you must “check in” to the gym of your choice when you arrive. You can add the tiny joint on the corner if it’s not already among the 40,000 they have listed. The service even chides you for sneaking out early! (Darn the ever-knowing “eyes” of GPS!)

An added twist: if you achieve your week’s goal, you can partake in the divided “pot” of money that accrues from users who don’t hit their marks. Obviously, the pot is bigger the more Gym-Pact users there are, but then the payout is potentially smaller, too! (The company takes a cut when you withdraw your “earnings.”)

There are provisions for situations where you need to adjust your scheduled goals, and even a way out if you’re sidelined by injury or illness.

My only question: What about runners? No gym required!

What do you think? Would putting money on the line make you hit the gym?