Risk vs spend

Risking money motivates you more than spending money. Because humans are loss averse – this was proved in behaviour science in the 1980s and verified by FMRI brain imaging over the past two decades.

Essentially, we hate losing things, and the risk of losing money activates the survival circuitry of the brain. That’s the circuitry most likely to produce action. In contrast, once you’ve spent money, your brain knows it’s gone, so it has little influence on your behaviour. It’s a sunk cost.


There’s an app

The Stake Something app gets you started on a new behaviour like exercise or dietary change. You promise your weekly action (e.g. exercise 3 times a week or eat to plan), then put some money at stake and report the result weekly. When you do what you promise, it costs you nothing. People who put a decent sum at stake take the actions 96% of the time*. Ridiculously effective, and free 96% of the time on average. There are no subscription fees.

commitment summary

What if I don’t succeed?

Let’s imagine you screw up one week. In that case you forfeit your stake and it goes to your nominated charity. Moment of truth. Now your brain knows that you REALLY do need to take the action. How do you think it’ll go next week?

NOOM alternative - weight loss method

How much should I stake?

A bit more than you’re comfortable losing. Something over $50 does it for most people.


Why not just lie?

Well, you could. What you’re then communicating to your brain is that the amount of money you staked is more important to you than your health or your word. Now your brain knows that the risk of losing money is not real, so staking just stops working. Your call.


What happens next?

Well probably, you give it a try. Worst thing that could happen is you lose some money and chicken out. Best thing would be you develop a new habit and a year later it still hasn’t cost you any money.

Oh, and if you’ve got a sinking feeling right now in your stomach about risking money, that’s the same feeling that gets you exercising to avoid losing money.


Fittest I’ve ever been in my whole life. The challenge that Stake Something provided was fundamental to my success, of which I’m very proud.

– Nonie B.

720 days ago I started using Stake Something to motivate me to learn Italian. I wasn’t prepared for how deep that commitment became. There is no way I am stopping this daily ritual for anything.

– Julie M.

I use it to get myself down the beach more often. I wanted to swim or surf 6 times a week. Four months in I’m happy to say I’ve achieved that. I love the app so much I’m using it to motivate me to market my business.

– Michael H.

It’s just brilliant.

– Patrick D.

When should I start?

Best thing is, mull it over for a while and wait until it feels right.

What’s the big hurry; you’ll get around to it.

Download on app store button
Google Play button

*Small sample size; not statistically significant. We’ll update as user numbers increase.