Benefits of betting on yourself

There have been a rash of apps that allow you to bet on yourself making progress at losing weight, staying fit or being healthy. Some examples are DietBet, HealthyWage, and Gym Pact.

The idea behind all of them is that you will do better if you can get meaningful incentives for making healthy changes. In Gym Pact, you make specific bets that you can, for example, get all your necessary vegetable servings in a week. In Healthy Wage and Diet Bet, you bet that you’ll achieve a certain weight by a certain time. In most cases, the money for the winners comes from the losers.

So could something like this work in the context of cutting back or quitting drinking? We think so!

It’s a little hard to imagine people taking their BACs with breathalyzers every day to verify their progress, but you could set incentives for yourself (like we suggest in the exercise “Setting Incentives” in the Drinker’s Helper app) to achieve certain drink reduction goals.

It’s proven to work; contingency management is a therapy that works for people with alcohol use disorder to quit drinking. You get real rewards for achieving certain sobriety or drink reduction goals, and it makes it that much easier to make the calculation in the moment that not drinking is the better call.

So get creative with it! Maybe you could go on vacation at the end of the month if you make it through drink-free. Maybe you could buy a dress or a piece of jewelry you’ve been eyeing, or simply reward yourself with baked goods. Just think of what will help you rethink your priorities in that moment before you have a drink.

And if you want an extra push, we’d love to help you cut back or quit drinking. The Drinker’s Helper app has exercises, a support group, and tracking and insights to help you make changes. Join today!