Ahhh the good old Rack! Such design, such beauty! Only kidding. This doesn’t look like fun.

In the old days this was a good way of motivating some. Not legal any more to my knowledge. Coaches use accountability with clients to get the job done. It is uncomfortable but a bit less painful.

So, say I said I will help you give up smoking and get you to lose half a stone immediately, guaranteed!  Would you be interested?

Many coaches help clients by being “accountability partners” and this is so effective to reach a defined future goal. Those who rely on self-motivation and self-regulation often find this is not going to cut it with behaviour change or task completion. They need to be held to account. Therefore, coaches get clients to define, write down and plan their tasks/goals etc. It makes it real and can be monitored in future sessions.

So, back to the pies and ciggies.

I used to bet my brother each January that I would lose 5% of my body weight or else pay him €500 at the start of March. By god I was never going to give him that money so I had to lose the weight, or I would never hear the end of it.  Weigh in was in January under laboratory conditions and then again in March. There was no room for failure here, I made sure of it. I changed my behaviour to achieve the goal. It was clear what I had to do. It was specific, measurable, timebound, realistic and achievable. I held onto my money and pride by taking exercise, eating better and less. Substituting prunes for meals only came in the last week before weigh-in, thankfully.

Those who know me know that I am not an expert in giving up smoking (that is an understatement).  But if you want to give up, forget buying the books, the patches, the support groups. Give me €10,000 of your own money and pledge not to smoke for two years. That should do the trick, no? At the end of the two years I will give it back to a successful quitter. If not, you lose the money, tough. 

This is possibly unrealistic (who has a spare €10,000 anyone?) but is a good illustration of accountability with a financial edge. What is the hardest part? It is not the giving up and believe me the physical and psychological addiction is substantial. It is making the decision to do it and be successful. If you were committed to be successful surely pledging this money is easy as you would definitely get it back (and probably double it in savings) This is the scary bit for those looking to change. To commit and to be clear on the goal. The desire to keep/not to lose the money must outweigh the benefits keeping the habit gives you.

I am free to take your money if you want to try it. Just make sure you set the amount sufficiently high to ensure you can’t lose. Just give me a call. I need a new car anyway, ha!

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