Marginal Revolution reader Peter Risager says:
A Danish chain of gyms is now offering membership free of charge, with the only caveat that you have to show up, in order for the membership to be free. If you fail to show up once per week you will be billed the normal monthly membership fee for that month. This should solve the problem with incentives that gym-membership normally carries – there is suddenly a very large (membership is around 85$ per month) incentive to show up each week.
I have my doubts that they’ve nailed the structure just right here. But the general shape of the solution seems right. And we should all hope entrepreneur or other cracks the code and manages to make something like this work. In the domain of personal health habits, we have a lot of instances of akrasia and these are exacerbated by the fact that the business world has done a much better job of finding ways to make money by taking advantage of our akrasia than they have of finding ways to help us overcome it. If you could actually find a workable business model that’s built around getting people into the gym — rather than just buying a membership to the gym — you’d wind up doing a lot of good for the world.