Tag Archives: betting

Betting on Yourself

Lately I have taken to gambling.  No…it’s not craps or cards or slot machines or even lottery tickets (which I believe are a tax on people who are bad at math, but that’s a story for another time).  I’ve been betting on myself.  My latest favorite smart phone app is called “StepBet.”  And I’ve been using it to bet on whether I can keep myself moving.

I sometimes have trouble keeping myself motivated to exercise (despite my desire to do a half-marathon in September).  But money is a great motivator for me.  And if I can get someone to pay me for doing something that is good for me, I’m all over that.  So I signed up for my first StepBet last November.  The app connects with my fitness tracker to make sure I’m taking all of the steps I need to.  Based on my average performance, StepBet calculated that I needed to complete about 8,300 steps four days a week (my “active” goal) and 10,500 steps two days a week (my “stretch” goal).  One day a week I get to slack off.  And as long as I was able to keep it up for six weeks, I would win.  I paid in $40 to participate in the bet.  I was one of 125 participants.  Only 87 of us succeeded in getting all of our required steps for the full six weeks.  So after StepBet took their cut from the money of those who lost, I was paid out $50 for winning.  Not a great hourly rate, but a 25% return for doing something I should be doing anyway is not a bad deal.

Now I’m in my second StepBet.  It started on Christmas Day and I just finished week 4.  My required number of steps are a little higher this time around because the first bet bumped up my averages.  And I’m still going strong.  So far 20 of the initial 159 players have been eliminated.  And I know I can do this to get back my money plus some from those who fail.  I won’t allow myself to fail because I don’t want to lose my $40.  And it’s not always easy to pull off.  There have been many days when I’ve found myself marching in place in my living room to get to my necessary step number (steps are steps, whether they are moving forward or moving in place or dancing to 80’s music, right?—it’s all exercise!).

So, I guess this isn’t really gambling, since it’s not a game of chance.  It’s more a game of resolution.  If you have a fitness tracker and are confident that you can move on a regular basis, it’s kind of a fun way to make a little extra money without a lot of effort.  And if it helps to keep you healthy, you win twice!

Betting on Yourself

I’ve started wagering. I don’t normally bet on things because the odds of losing are so much greater than the odds of winning, so it just doesn’t make financial sense. (Though I did buy a couple of tickets for the 1.3 billion dollar Powerball drawing…just in case…despite the fact that I’m very aware that the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.)  But the wagering I’m doing now is different because I’m betting on my own behavior.

Along with this year’s New Year’s resolutions about diet and exercise, I started using the app Pact on my smartphone.  With Pact I am betting on myself.  Last week I bet that I would exercise three times and that I would eat at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables.  And I met my requirements within the first few days of the week, so this week I increased my bet to three times exercising and 15 servings of fruit and veggies.  If I meet my wager, I get paid.  But for every veggie or workout that I miss, I owe $5.  The money from the people who fail is divided up among those who succeed.


I’ll probably get about a dollar for last week’s success (I’ll find out for sure tomorrow).  And that’s not a lot, I know.  But somebody is paying me for doing healthy things that I was going to be doing anyway.  And if I get a dollar a week for the rest of the year, that’s $50, just for doing things that are good for me.  And that’s a bet I’m willing to take.