Almost Time for Resolutions: I’ve Got a Strategy for You

New Year's Resolution Advice

December 21, 2016   7 Comments

I know that everyone is out shopping right now but I like to plan ahead.

Every year Snack Girl traffic goes through the roof in January because people decide that this year will be the year that they will get healthy. I literally hear crickets in December and then BAM everyone wants to get their hands on some healthy recipes and tips.

I have decided to start mentioning resolutions before January 1st because you need more than a goal – you need a plan to complete the goal.

My buddy, Marj, shared this incredible website with me I don’t know how I missed it because it is a great resource for those of us who have trouble STICKING to our goals. was started by two Yale University professors who have made it FREE for individual users (businesses pay to use it). During graduate school at M.I.T., one professor and a colleague made a wager to lose 40 pounds each, and to referee one another so as to stay on target.

They lost the weight because they had someone to keep them on target and money on the line.

The site works like this – you pick a goal. This goal can be lose 10 pounds, exercise three times a week, eat only one candy bar a week, save money, practice yoga……whatever you want!

You pick the time frame – so you can choose to lose 10 pounds over 6 months if that is what will work for you. Then, you find a person who will “referee” you – ensure that you are completing your goal. That person will sign into and update your progress. If you miss a week, this person will keep you accountable.

Now, here comes the good part. You can choose to put money on the line and you can choose to give yourself money or a charity if you make the goal – or give the money away to a charity, friend, foe, or cause that you don’t believe in if you fail for that week. They charge your credit card each week for the amount that you are either giving away (if you fail) or keeping (going to where you want it to go). Check out this list of polar opposites to choose from:

I am not endorsing any of these groups. This is the list from and you get to choose your group. As you can see they are opposites on issues that may be hot buttons for many of us in the USA. For example - the NRA versus a pro gun control group. If you feel strongly that there should be common sense gun reform - you could set it up that when you MISS your goal - $10 goes to the NRA. Do you think that would keep you on task?

Here is a success story from Dana:

Having turned pudgy and lethargic…I used stickK to try to change my lifestyle. The combination of peer surveillance and the threat of losing money to the Christian right was the perfect combination. I lost 16 pounds, [and] went from toiling on a treadmill to taking private Pilates lessons...all since joining stickK."

The site says that users who put money on the line and have a referee tend to do best. 78% of these users achieve their goals, as compared to only 35% who put no money down.

I’m thinking hard about my goal for the New Year. My problem is that I have so many to choose from!

What would your goal be and how might you achieve it? Does sticKK sound like a good idea?

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I've been following Snackgirl for more than a year. I use many of the recipes and have encouraged lots of friends to sign-up for your emails. I've always found your suggestions on healthy eating and weight loss to be sensible and very easy to implement in my life. This post really appealed to me because I struggle, like so many of us, sticking to my healthy eating plan during the holidays. However, I am very confused about some of your comments here. I know you said you didn't want this to become political but I'm having a hard time understanding your comment about "a list of possible causes you may NOT want to donate your money to" and then you have included GLAD, educational fund to stop GUN violence, and the national organization for gay marriage. Why would anyone HATE to fund these groups? I'm not sure why you included these in your list but as a gay woman who wants my kids and grandkids to live lives free of gun violence I really don't get why these are included. If I'm misunderstanding your comments then I apologize but if you are insinuating that donating to a group that advocates for gay people to have the same rights as anyone else or a group that wants to give our kids a safe place to live then I must voice my objection to this post. I would hate to unsubscribe to your website but if you are indicating that people shouldn't support these organizations then I have no choice but to do that. Please clarify this. Thank you

on December 22, 2016

Lisa! I couldn't help smiling picturing you looking out your window, listening to crickets waiting for the "bing" of one of our comments :) I don't think I'm alone being very busy, not necessarily overeating, this time of year. But regarding this StickK proposal, it sounds good esp since I had personally developed an almost exact game back in the 80's with my colleagues. We teamed up in 2's, made our goals, wagered money and had weekly weigh-ins. Payout was after 3 months. No charities were involved. I like and understand your non-partisan list even tho I'd prefer a progressive, totally liberal, pro-science, pro-women, pro-choice, pro-LGBT, pro-living wage, pro-single payer health, pro-free community college, pro-SS/Medicare expansion, pro-peace, etcetera, etcetera list. In your position neutrality is necessary. Good job. Dana's success story shows how politics can have a positive effect. It's actually brilliant the more I think about it!

on December 22, 2016

I think the point of the organizations listed is that they are polar opposites. There's something for everyone.

Under gun control, you can sign up to fund the NRA if you don't reach your goals (anti-gun control, which would personally encourage me to stick to my goals) or the Edu Fund to Stop Gun Violence (which would encourage NRA members to stick to theirs).

The point of the site is that there's something there to motivate everyone, no matter what your political views are. But they are not endorsing any of them.

on December 22, 2016

@kimlee - Thank you for your comment. The image is of the list of organizations from That list is for you to choose a group to endorse or one to motivate you (an opposing group) to keep on track. I thought the brilliance of this list was that they were opposites. I don't think my political views are relevant because this post is about achieving goals.

I have edited the post to clarify my post. Ack! I hate that I offended people (now getting e-mails too). There are two sides in the list.

Please don't unsubscribe! You can e-mail me directly if you want to hear my views -

on December 22, 2016

Hi, I saw you on Dr Oz awhile back, looking good. I have been checking in on your sites through emails. I don't really do much with recipes except create my own with what I have. I do like any tips that you pass on and the latest is StickK which I just joined since reading this article. Thanks for another avenue. I am also on SparkPeople but could be more active but much resources to benefit with my weight loss. Merry Christmas!

on December 23, 2016

I think that's a fool proof plan. Everyone needs motivation in life..alot of people fail because theirs nothing to lose from it if they quit on themselves..but this brings DRIVE and will power to an entire new level.

on December 25, 2016

Lisa -- "at the fork in the road," I think I agree with "kimlee." Your column is usually insightful, uplifting, hopeful and pragmatic when it comes to how we feed ourselves. This suggestion just seems like a negative feed, bad Karma downer.

on December 27, 2016

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