My Plan Needs Work

I know I said I’d post about the 2009 Weight Loss Challenge today, but I think I need more time to refine it. Here’s what I was thinking:

  • Ante: Everyone who wants to join has to put some skin in the game by donating a certain amount to my LiveStrong Challenge Fundraising page. I will then reciprocate by donating the same amount to your LiveStrong Challenge Fundraising page. The amount you choose by donating to my page becomes our monthly bet amount.
  • The Monthly Bet: Each month, we state how much we will lose by the end of that month. It has to be an ambitious goal.
  • Loser Pays: If I miss my goal, I donate our bet amount to your page. If you miss your goal, you donate that amount to my page. If we both hit our goals, then we’re both lighter, and that’s pretty cool, too.
  • No Quitting Allowed. If you join the challenge, you’re in until the end of July. No exceptions, no bail-outs. You can quit dieting, but that just means you lose and donate to my account every month.

What I Like About This Idea

There’s a lot I like about this plan. Specifically:

  • It Exposes Me, Big Time. I don’t do well with bets when I can afford to lose. If I’m betting an average of $20 / month with 100 people, I could wind up losing $2000 per month. I could afford that maybe once, but certainly not more than once.
  • It’s Personal. I’ll be betting something with each individual person. I like that.
  • It’s Simple. A couple years ago when we did the B7 Challenge, I just about lost my mind keeping track of the prizes and rankings. And while I did very well, the effort of collecting all those prizes was just too much and I left dozens of them uncollected.
  • It’s For a Good Cause. No matter how well we all do at this contest, the LAF is going to benefit. And when we fail, at least some good comes of it.

What I Don’t Like About This Idea

This challenge has problems, though. Here are the ones I see:

  • Not Humiliating Enough. When you or I fail, it’s just not humiliating. I think I can rectify this by publishing a “Non-Losing Losers” list each month, listing everyone who failed in their goals.
  • It Feels Too Good To Lose. This goes along with the first point. When you lose, it’s easy to think, “Well, that’s OK; I’m just donating to a good cause.” So there needs to be something else you (or I) give up when you miss your objective.

It’s this part — the penalty for failure — that I’m hoping you’ll give me some good ideas for. Although I’m definitely happy to have suggestions for other parts too. Like, what should the carrot be (currently, all incentives for this contest are definitely stick-like)?

Give me your suggestions, and we’ll nail this down. At the beginning of the year, we’ll start sign-up and get going.

The B7 from a couple years ago was a lot of fun, except when it was embarrassing. I’m expecting this will be no different.

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