NEW YORK (LearnVest) -- We love you.
We would never post an unflattering photo of you to Facebook or tell all your friends when you fail to go to the gym ... but these websites and apps might.
It's all for a good cause, though: self-improvement.
You're pretty damn awesome the way you are. But we all want to be the best versions of ourselves: happy, healthy, fit, creative, always on time, well-rested, secure in our savings and tons more. And it isn't exactly free to hire a fitness trainer/personal assistant/someone to yell at us to go to sleep earlier.
So we present one of the most powerful ways to be that model person, for free: shame.
We found six websites and apps that use—let's call it peer pressure, but "humiliation" would probably work just as well—to motivate you to meet the goals you set for yourself. Even better, all of these ideas are free, except for one that's a dollar.
Anyone who's ever had a gym buddy would understand.
GymPact's motto is "incentivize your exercise," and they do it with something near and dear to all of us: cash. Make your "pact" by spelling out how many days you plan to hit the gym and how much you're willing to pay for each day you skip.
You prove to the app that you actually went to the gym by checking in with your smartphone. If you don't check in, you pay. Then, every week, the money paid by users who didn't get to the gym goes to the users who did. This generally averages out to about 50-75 cents per workout you manage to do. Not a huge windfall, but over time it adds up. Plus, the incentive is powerful ... would you want to give your money to the people making you look bad?
You can edit your pact each week, so you won't be locked into a month of 6 a.m. visits to the weight room.
(If your fitness goal is to lose weight, this scale that Tweets your weight might be for you! Then again, maybe not.)
The Shame Alarm is an app that starts a timer at your designated wakeup time. You have 15 seconds to disable it before the app posts a message to Facebook and Twitter about your inability to rise. The default message is the somewhat silly, "I'm a contemptible person, unable to even wake up on time. I deserve not your friendship, but scorn!"
The message is customizable, though, so we recommend going with something really juicy. For instance, "I ate the entire pint of Rocky Road and blamed it on my little cousin."
Quit the Habit
That whole "I'm never eating chocolate again!" or "I'm going to run eight miles every week!" thing usually lends itself to disappointment.
Instead, Antiresolution breaks down five major resolutions (quit smoking, lose weight, manage stress, save money and make more family time) into daily reminders of incremental steps you can make toward that goal. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, suggested "small actions" include eating one green vegetable every day or making a workout playlist.
Each time you complete the tiny task they send your way, you publish it to Facebook or Twitter. Shame? More like positive reinforcement.
Keep Your Appointments
Are you the flake? You know, that friend who says she'll be at Coffee Bean at 3 p.m. and rolls in around 3:30 ... or texts at 3:05 that she can't make it after all?
Don't be the flake. Instead, use Get Upp, an app where you input the time and place you need to be (gym visits are popular), then let your friends vote via Facebook on whether or not you'll actually keep it. If most of them think you won't pull it off, you'll be fired up to prove them wrong; if most of them think you'll succeed, you'd better prove them right. Plus, the more people who know about your commitment, the more who will ask you, badger you, peer pressure you ...
You check in at the specified time via smartphone and the app publishes your success to the world.
StickK was developed by Yale University economists who tested the idea of "commitment contracts"—that is, an agreement with someone else that binds you to meeting a personal goal. You pledge money that you'll reach that goal, and if you don't reach it, that money goes to a designated friend, charity or anti-charity (a charity you hate.)
You choose a "referee" who you permit to check into your account via a related link to monitor your progress. You can also appoint other members of the Stickk community to support you with encouraging messages and posts, too. Currently, StickK users have over $10 million on the line! (And have completed over 300,000 workouts and not smoked over 2 million cigarettes.)
Be More Social
We completely understand the appeal of watching this week's "Girls" on the couch, alone with your snacks and your sweatpants. But we also know that too much HBO is a bad thing. If your goal is getting out of the house, being accountable to an internet community will help you do it.
Kind of like this LearnVester who kept herself to the promise of not shopping for six months by blogging about it.
With a basic (free!) Tumblr, Instagram or Blogger account, you can declare your goal ("I'm going out with friends twice every week!") and post pictures to your loyal fans to prove you've done it. Is the idea of strangers judging your social life not motivating enough? We suggest giving the URL to your mom.
Tumblr, Instagram and Blogger are all free
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