There is a website called StickK.com, founded by a Yale economics professor and some others, that uses my aversion to losing money to help me improve my life.  Here's how it works: I make some sort of a pledge, and I attach some monetary value to that pledge.  If I fail to achieve my pledge, I pay this money.  Pledges can be one-time deals, or weekly commitments.  I choose the recipient of the cash; it doesn't go to the website.  Right now, I have three pledges going.

First pledge: to write something 6 days a week, for 6 weeks.  I have attached $30 a week to this pledge, with the money going to the George W. Bush Presidential Library.  This pledge is going very well.

Second pledge: to wake up every morning when my alarm tells me to.  I have attached $15 a week to this pledge for 4 weeks, with the money going to "charity," i. e. the Salvation Army, Red Cross, or whatever.  I have already failed the pledge for this week, but I have high hopes for next week.

Third pledge: I am not listening to any music on my compuker or iPod for a week.  It is too distracting.  I attached $20 to this pledge, to go to charity.  So far, so good, although I am really missing music.  I got an ambient noise programme, but it really is not the same at all.

In conclusion: if you feel you cannot control your own life very well, you should consider StickK.

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