It is quite clear that with the start of a new year, many people resolve to shed their festive fat by hitting the gym more frequently.
But suddenly, what may have seemed so reasonable at the end of December may now have already fallen by the wayside.
That's the premise of GymPact, a new smartphone app that forces users to show up or pay up: users make a 'pact' with the service to go to the gym a set number of days per week. For each day that a user does not show up on an appointed day, the app debits 5 dollars from his account.
GymPact, which has been co-founded by Harvard graduates Yifan Zhang and Geoff Oberhofer, allows those who go to the gym according to their "pact" to never pay money.
People are needed to provide their credit card information when they first sign up. They are supposed to pay an amount of their choice if they do not follow the pact.
For higher stakes, people have an option of choosing from 10 dollars to 50 dollars in 10 dollars increments.
"We learned about ways financial incentives motivate behaviors," ABC news quoted Zhang as saying.
"Jeff is an athlete and thought it would be a great way to get people to the gym."
If people do follow their pact, they receive money via Paypal from the pool paid by the non-exercisers.
Zhang asserted that GymPact users are earning 50 cents to a dollar for a workout they commit.
Till now, users are going to the gym 80 to 90 percent of the days they have committed.
"I'm a four-day a person so I get about 20 dollars a month," she said.
Zhang, Oberhofer and their lead developer, Anuprit Kale - all 23 years old - are users of GymPact, according to the company policy for the three-person team.
Their iPhone app, which was unveiled on Jan. 1, keeps track of when people check in at a gym and makes sure that they are there for at least 30 minutes.
GymPact possesses a database of over 40,000 gyms, including university gyms, but work and home gyms do not count. If a gym is not in the database yet, it can be added once an individual checks in.
"Our goal isn't to make people do 100 pushups. Our goal is to just go to the gym," she said.
"If people want to sit at the gym for 30 minutes that's fine. But research shows that if people get to gym, they achieve more health benefits," she added.