I discovered the app Gympact the other day. The idea (short version) is that you pay if you don’t exercise, you get money if you do. This is fantastic motivation for me, because even though it’s only a small amount, it’s a reward for meeting my goals that doesn’t cost any money, if I do what I’m supposed to do.
Everyone always says you should set goals and then reward yourself when you meet them. This system makes sense in theory—positive reinforcement and all that—but at the same time it never made much sense, in practice, to me, mostly because it involves spending money, something I hate doing. Plus, if you’ve got the money in your budget to spend on a nice night out or a treat of some kind, why not just go out or eat the treat? Or, to put it another way, why is it a punishment to save the money instead of going out? I don’t get it.
To get paid someone else’s money to go to the gym, though? Ah, now there’s a reward I can get behind! Something that I didn’t, or couldn’t, have before becomes mine to do with as I please. I can get a fudgecicle (and ruin my workout) if I want; it won’t cost me a dime. Or I can save it up for a fancy night out on the town – still free to me! Finally, someone is willing to pay me to go to the gym. And who foots the bill? People who don’t go to the gym.
Gympact collects money from those who don’t meet their daily goals and pays it out to those who do. So the motivation is two-fold: not wanting to lose money (not a huge motivation for me as it turns out – been losing $70/month in an unused gym membership and it hasn’t seemed to change my behavior any), and wanting to earn it (that’s more like it).
The way it works is this: You commit to go to the gym (or walk/run/hike/bike/whatever) x-number of days a week and you agree to pay $y per day that you don’t go. I’ve started out with 3 days a week at $5 a day. At the end of the week, if I only exercised twice, I have to pay $5. If I exercised only once, I pay $10. If I exercised all three times, I get paid depending on the number of days I committed to, the amount paid by those who didn’t meet their commitments, and the number of people like me who did meet our commitments, or “pacts” (after Gympact takes out their fees, of course). According to their website, it can average from $0.30 to $5 a week. I won’t be a millionaire any time soon, but hey, it’s something.
You can sign up in a similar way for eating more fruits & veggies (you take a picture of what you’re eating and the Gympact user community votes – far too subjective for my comfort level so I won’t be doing that one) and for logging the foods you eat in a journal.
And of course, Husband and I have both signed up so it’s a race to see who can make the most money!