Improve Yourself While Helping the Secular Students January 20, 2011

Improve Yourself While Helping the Secular Students

Want to lose some weight, exercise on a more regular basis, eat healthier, or do anything else to improve yourself?

The Secular Student Alliance is giving you the motivation you need to do that with our Carrot and Stick project!

The rules are pretty simple:

1) Make a measurable self-improvement goal (how much weight to lose, how many push-ups to do)

2) Decide an amount to pledge

3) Choose an organization you would hate to give money to — this is your “stick”

4) Write out checks dated March 31st to both the Secular Student Alliance (this is your “carrot”) and the organization you chose in step 3

If you reach your goal by March 31st, send the check to the SSA and rip up the check to your opposing organization. If not, you have to send the check to the ‘stick’ cause instead!

The SSA’s Executive Director August Brunsman used this method over the past few months and it worked wonderfully:

Of course I’ve tried dozens of times before to lose weight. By deciding to tie specific consequences to getting down to 175 lbs. by the end of the year, I was suddenly more motivated than ever before to make the hundreds of right choices, big and little, I needed to get there. After I made my pledge public, I knew I had only three choices: behave in such a way as to lose the weight (acceptable but hard), publicly admit that I was sending money to Campus Crusade for Christ (very painful), or lie (very, very painful).

Jen McCreight‘s doing this, too, and she’s already lost a few pounds in the process.

I plan to join in on the action after the Speech season ends at the end of February (I’m at school late most of the next month practicing with students and working out just isn’t on my radar when I get home). But come March, you all have my permission to force me to lose weight.

There’s just over two months to reach your target goal, so take advantage of the situation. By bettering yourself (however you want to define that), you’re also helping others in the process.

This is a win-win opportunity.

Unless you lose. (In which case I’m really curious where your check would go to.) But please don’t let that happen.

Good luck!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Cheryl

    This is a great idea except I have no money to give being unemployed. An option would be community service but I really don’t know of a secular group to volunteer with as I’m surrounded by nothing but religious charities.

  • Methodissed

    I like this idea, though I’d prefer that the stick be a negative consequence for the individual that doesn’t harm the rest of us.

    Instead, how about writing a “healthy” carrot check to SSA and then double that amount as the stick – payable to SSA!

    That’s a true win-win!

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    Why not simply set a reasonable goal and work hard to achieve it for its own sake? These carrot and stick mental games seem like something a heaven and hell believing theist would do. The punishment for failing to lose weight or exercise is that damned heart attack your going to have. Don’t make the rest of the world suffer for your failures by giving money to the CCC. Just skip all the bullshit and contribute to the SSA now. Quick, before you have that heart attack and your theist relatives give all your money to Pat Robertson.

  • Methodissed

    Darwin’s Dagger: Why not simply set a reasonable goal and work hard to achieve it for its own sake?

    If human psychology were that simple, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  • Tom

    @ Darwin’s Dagger: sigh… and people wonder why atheists have a reputation of being assholes…

    Oh, anyone know Al-Qaida’s Saudi Arabia P.O. box address?

  • I think I may take the SSA up on this… I’ve finally gotten back into running at least a 5k 4 days a week again. I’m already in better shape a month later, (I started in October running again but stepped it up) but I’m not dropping any weight. I need to change that.

  • Andrew Morgan

    If I had the willpower to send money to a group I disagreed with, I’d have the willpower to exercise in the first place. 🙂

  • Lynne

    Wow! What a great idea! I’m putting pictures of Bryan Fisher, Tony Perkins, and James Dobson on my refrigerator so I lose my appetite and keep on walking past it. Lardass (mine), begone! Not a penny to those guys!

  • Togii

    What? We don’t want you to lose weight. We want you to eat bacon!
    Becoming healthier is a good goal, too, though, I guess >____>

  • Ubi Dubium

    I’d recommend giving both checks to a third party to hold for you, and they will be the ones to send them in if you do/don’t meet your goals. Then you will have an extra incentive to work toward your goal, because you’ll have a harder time weaseling out of sending in the check should you fail.

  • stogoe

    A friend of mine did this last fall, only the ‘stick’ was Sarah Palin PAC and the ‘carrot’ was Not Sending Money to Sarah Palin PAC. (He had a third party hold the check in a post-paid envelope for him, so no weaseling.)

    Tom, as ‘fun’ a stick as ‘Funding a Terrorist Organization’ sounds, I’d prefer my hypothetical stick not to be an international crime.