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Everything old is new again, the old saying goes - and anyone who was around during the 1930s must be having a sense of deja vu. It's gotten to the point where this parody (tinyurl.com/axd8bm) of Herbert Hoover's famous line, "prosperity is just around the corner," seems like it was written last week, not in 1932. But if we're looking for guidance from the oldies to navigate the new, harsh realities, I rather like this one (tinyurl.com/6shgzb), written during World War II, evoking a spirit of facing tough challenges head-on.
Of course, all these recent years of high living have left us in a vulnerable state; we've forgotten how to scrimp and still maintain our dignity. We have got a adopt a mind-set that says that it's okay to sacrifice, to live on what we have and not mortgage the future. And luckily for us, Stickk (stickk.com) is here to put us in line, to prove to us that we still have what it takes to discipline ourselves when we need to - like now.
Stickk's motto is "put a contract out on yourself," but this site has nothing to do with the acting legacy of George Raft and Edward G. Robinson. What Stickk wants you to do is to promise to make a change - and make you pay if you fail to live up to your commitments.
At Stickk, you decide what you want to commit to changing in your life - lose weight, learn a new skill, save money, etc. You sign a "commitment contract" with Stickk, telling it what you plan to do, how long it will take you and how often you plan on checking in to report your progress. If you "win," you get the satisfaction of a job well done - but if you fail, you shell out money to a charity Stickk works with. When you sign the contract, you choose the charity and the financial penalty - and the site deducts the money from your credit card (you supply them with your number when you sign up).
By "betting" money on yourself, the theory goes, you'll take commitments more seriously. A commitment contract that costs you could actually be one of the best ways to discipline yourself. For those who need help learning to live within their means, Stickk is made to order.