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How to Make Yourself Go to the Gym – The New York Times.

…Three years after the study, the workers who had been offered the contracts remained 20 percent more likely to work out than those who had not been offered any incentives. By inducing a habit with cash payments, and then reinforcing that habit with self-funded payments, the researchers were able to permanently change workout habits for at least some people.

…you can use a service like Stickk to set up your own commitment contract: Promise to go to the gym, and set aside money that will be given to charity if you don’t. For extra incentive, you can even use an anti-charity: If you don’t work out, your money will be given to a cause you hate. That’s more likely to keep you working out through beach season than simply paying up front for a gym membership.

Read more.

We’ve seen a few of these studies, actual money on the line with some type of “contract” and/or incentives works.