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At some point or another you’ve no doubt been lectured about the importance of keeping promises. Unfortunately, promises are like babies – easy to make but hard to deliver. So do you promise more than you can deliver? Or do you deliver more than you promise? Can you even remember the last promise you made? They are just words after all.
Whether or not we make “promises”, we can’t escape making commitments all the time. Our to-do lists pile up with obligations to return emails, call grandma, read more, finish that pet project, and the list goes on. And on.
Inevitably we slip up. It is incredibly hard to follow through on every commitment we make, particularly those that we secretly make to ourselves. Sending your nephew a birthday card is one thing but, without peer support, mustering the motivation to quit smoking or lose that extra weight is an entirely different ballgame.
If your New Year’s Resolution is now a distant memory, you’re not alone. In fact, while 45% of people make New Year’s resolutions only 8% of people stick to them.
Even when we make promises to ourselves to do the things that we know will make our lives better we can get sidetracked by distractions, lack motivation or simply slip back into routine. Surely there must be a way to get more motivated to follow through on own self-improvement commitments? To actually doing what we ‘could’ or ‘should’ do.
Often making private, discreet promises to ourselves is not enough and in order to really increase the likelihood that we will make good, we need to put something on the line.
Achieving goals increases by 33 percent of shared, 77 percent if money is put on the line
Intuitively this makes sense and is backed by years of social and behavioural research, which show that the chance of achieving a goal increases 33% if it is shared with others and by 72% if money is put on the line. So why not combine these two approaches to help other people achieve their personal goals? Promise or Pay is doing just that.
Promise or Pay motivates you to uphold your commitments and change the world for the common good by donating money to charity if you don’t follow through, and by encouraging others to donate if you succeed.
The process is simple. You publicly promise to do something or pay a nominated contribution to a charity if you do not follow through. Promise or Pay harnesses social media to make your goal public and thereby strengthen the intention of keeping it, as well as integrating charitable giving to ensure a win-win outcome is always achieved and you are left feeling good. If you keep your promise, your supporters donate. If you break your promise, you donate.
Setting personal goals, getting support and sharing the journey is a perfect fit for today’s social media environment where people love to share their experiences with friends. To date, the majority of promises are around health and wellbeing – to exercise, to meditate, to avoid unhealthy foods etc. But in reality a promise is only limited by your ambition and imagination. Some have been breathtaking (to skydive) and bold (to complete a triathlon) while others some have been wacky (to stop biting toe nails) and crazy (to learn how to joust).
By combining social motivation with charitable giving, Promise or Pay motivates you to do the things you want most to do with your life while creating a more engaging and empowering way to donate to charities that are making a real difference in the world.
Important and difficult changes are often achieved only after a number of mistakes and imperfections. In a world that is fixated on perfection we need to remember that promises, like fine China, break if they are not handled with the right attention and care. At the same time, we need to recognise that one promise can make a huge difference. What will your promise be?
Jay Boolkin is the founder of Promise or Pay an innovative digital platform that takes philanthropy to a new level by encouraging users to Promise or Pay. Learn more at www.promiseorpay.com and follow on Twitter @promiseorpay