Putting your goals in writing and confirming them with another person is a powerful way to ensure you stick to your goal. Attach a penalty or reward and adherence skyrockets.
Photo by Micheal Himbeault.
Financial blog Get Rich Slowly has a great guest post from PopEconomics highlighting the power of personal contracts in the arena of goal seeking and personal growth.
In one study conducted in the Philippines, smokers committed to quit smoking for six months. If they failed a urine test that detected nicotine, they'd lose six months-worth of smoking money as a penalty. At the end of the program, the economists found that the contracts improved the chances of quitting by 30%, which is better than the improvement other tools like a nicotine patch gives you.
But there's no requirement to make it as formal - and you don't even have to set financial stakes. Another common tactic is to make the contract and let your goals and progress be known to your friends. Rather than a financial penalty, if you fail, you have to broadcast that failure to everybody. The shame itself should help keep you on track.
Whether the contract is informal or formal such a system requires three parts: a goal, something at stake, and someone or something to referee and hold you accountable. Check out the full article at the link below for more tips and tricks, or check out some previously reviewed tools and tips that fit with this philosophy like why you should risk dweebhood with written goals, contract-oriented fitness game Health Month and goal-wagering site StickK.