Commitment Device

A commitment device is a tool or strategy that someone can use to help someone stick to their goals or habits. It is often something that makes it more difficult to deviate from the desired behavior. Commitment devices are an effective way to form habits because they remove the need for willpower, which can be a difficult thing to rely on consistently.

Examples of commitment devices:

  • An app that kills the virtual trees you are trying to grow as soon as you stop focusing.
  • A contract that automatically wires $10000 from your bank account to your least favourite charity in the world for each day you don't do A every single day.
  • A promise to a girl you have a crush on that you will help her with the next mathematics problem set.
  • Removal of the "snooze" button, since snoozing risks not waking up completely.
  • Quarantine distracting websites using irretrievable blocker software, at least one that's difficult to retrieve, to help make a decision for a potentially tempted future self.

A commitment device is probably the single most effective method for habit formation. If you can set up a commitment device, you should absolutely do it. It almost completely removes your willpower from the equation (well, the stronger the commitment device is) — and your willpower is more of an enemy of consistency than it is a friend.