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3 “Precommitment” Strategies for Achieving Your Goals

By nature, human beings are distractible creatures. Even when we want to achieve a goal we’ve been chasing for a while, we quickly get sidetracked by less important activities. In this modern age, external distractions usually come in the form of social media and technology.

However, even when they are not distracted, people have a hard time staying on track. It’s all too easy to succumb to behaviors that lead us away from our goals, especially if we are overworked and tired.

Taking advantage of the concept of “precommitments” – pacts you make with yourself and others – can go a long way in helping you realize your dreams.

Effort Pact

An effort pact is a precommitment that involves making unwanted behaviors harder to do. Consider this: you need to work on your project, but watching TV is far more tempting. If you hide your remote control (or move it further away), you will be less inclined to go looking for it. Therefore, watching TV will take more effort than usual, and you might just commit to working on your project instead.

Social pressure is an effort pact that includes two or more people committing to something together. Make a deal with your friend or colleague to work without distractions for a specific amount of time. Use services like to co-work remotely and support each other through it.

Price Pact

A well-established fact is that people hate losing more than they enjoy winning. If you link potential failure with monetary loss, you will be more motivated to avoid distractions and complete your work. This is one reason why people who pay for a gym membership are more likely to exercise – they don’t want to waste their money.

To make the most out of a price pact, use specific, time-sensitive goals or activities and be very precise in what kind of losses you’re expecting if you fail to deliver.

Identity Pact

Do you have a clear image of yourself in your mind? Is there a version of yourself that you’d like to become? To make an identity pact, all you need to do is commit to a self-image that reinforces your self-discipline. How long does this version of you work without getting distracted? How effective are they in achieving their goals?

By sharing your identity with others, you are further establishing your commitment to this self-image and a version of yourself that is unbeatable at avoiding distractions.

Commit to Healthy Behaviors

The three pacts described in this post – the effort, price, and identity pact – are smart ways to give yourself the push you need to create a more disciplined routine. Make your unwanted behaviors harder to do, assign a monetary loss to your failures, commit to a new self-image, or use a combination of any of these.

Living and working without distractions is challenging, but if you keep your eyes on the prize and implement some of these strategies, you will have an easier time checking things off your to-do list.

Discover the best way to use “precommitments” to increase your productivity, as well as how to consistently connect with your leadership team and predictably turn them into highly engaged employees. Call me for some complimentary advice. Book an appointment at or call me at +1 (604) 943-0800.

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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734