Personal Challenges

We’re always looking for ways to better engage the software in your head that actually changes behavior rather than just gives you a new tool or feature. The influences of peer pressure, reputation, and other social contracts are a lot more powerful as motivators than sms reminders and blinking task bars.

Along these lines, as people are creating their goals and New Year’s Resolutions, we’ve added a simple feature called the Personal Challenge.

personal challenges

A personal challenge is like anything else on your list of 43 things that you want to do before you die, except you give yourself a deadline and consequences. This goal then jumps to the top of your list and is highlighted with the date and consequences there for everyone to see. You can’t remove it from your list anymore… you can either mark it as done, or give up on it. You have now become accountable… and a bit of your reputation is on the line.

Choose something that you really want to do because you can only have one personal challenge at a time. For more info on motivating yourself by creating public consequences for yourself and staking your reputation on the line, you can watch this talk I gave at Ignite Seattle a few weeks ago: How to use technology to get what you want.

Try out Personal Challenges by logging in, going to your profile page, and clicking on the link in the left column to “learn more” about the brand new personal challenge and see if it doesn’t change the way you think about your goals. No more dilly-dallying.

12 Responses to “Personal Challenges”

  1. YouDontKnowMe Says:

    Hey guys… just wanted to let you know that I think this is a WONDERFUL idea! Only being able to do one thing on a timed basis is a good idea because it keeps people very focused… and being able to choose our own consequences is good because we all know what would be right… SUCH a good addition to an already amazing site!

    I just decided that I have to “work out and get fit” by March 1st or else I’m going to be very disappointed in myself and not eat any sweets for two weeks… which is just right considering I’m going to Florida for fun in the sun March 11-17 :)

    i <3 r0b0ts :)

  2. PurpleHeather Says:

    Great idea but I would like to see a bribe version too.

    I would like to see the user have the option of “Or else I will” and “Then I will”

    I bribe myself after doing well - eg a meal out or trip or massage.

  3. Flash Says:

    This is great! Thanks for adding it. I am eaten up with curiosity about what consequences others are choosing. Would love to see these all listed in one place, say on a Zeitgeist page.

  4. joeldaniel Says:

    Brilliant! so simple. this will help us “make it happen” :)

  5. ciscott Says:

    This is a great idea. I will think about how to use this. But I think I might be more motivated by a reward (positive) than a consequence (negative). I like the “or else I will” and “and then I will” options mentioned by PurpleHeather.

    Thanks for continuing to improve the site and thinking of ways to help motivate us!

  6. [email protected] Says:

    great idea! did you get it from ?

  7. rob Says:

    Nice idea, anything that helps push us out of lethargy or inaction can only be a good thing, I likey!

  8. absnasm Says:

    Great idea, but I’d also like to see an option for rewarding ourselves for completing a task - it would be more in the positive spirit of the site, and it’s more effective to motivate yourself by running towards something cool rather than away from something horrid.

    I’d also like to be able to see everyone’s challenges - or better, the challenges of those people I subscribe to - listed in one place, like on the Zeitgeist.

    But good work, fellas! Eeh, I love a new feature!

  9. Trinah Says:

    Good idea, though I should have read we can only have one and can’t stop it cause i just picked a random goal to see how it worked. lol. Oh well, it’s doable and I picked a really long amount of time for a fairly easy goal.

  10. ToddSchoonover Says:

    Great job Robots, but did you intend for the personal challenge to also populate on

  11. phil Says:

    Like Todd, I was thinking the same thing.

    Well anyways, if you are in the web content profession, you may want to check out WCP:


  12. Eric Says:

    I realize this was posted a year ago, but how about adding another feature similar to personal challenges this year, which promotes a more positive approach toward completing goals: Instead of only allowing the option to punish oneself if a goal is not completed, there should also be an option to reward oneself if a goal is completed. After all, research has shown that “Optimism - at least reasonable optimism - can pay dividends as wide-ranging as health, longevity, job success and higher scores on achievement tests.”¹

    Implementation: There could be a radio button selector on the set dare page, allowing the options: “Punish myself if I don’t do this” and “Reward myself if I do this.” Then, based on the selection, the user would simply enter a punishment/reward based on whether or not s/he accomplishes his/her goal.


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