New MOOD by Onnit

Author Topic: Commitment Devices  (Read 771 times)


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Commitment Devices
« on: January 09, 2013, 11:08:51 AM »
Hello gentlemen. Most of us have some kind of long term goal, and of course these goals are by no means easy. Staying committed is difficult, but it may be easier with the help of economics. Economics and game theory both talk about commitment devices. A commitment device is defined by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt as "a means with which to lock yourself into a course of action that you might not otherwise choose but that produces a desired result". I'll link you guys to some more credible sources other then a 17 year old dude on the internet so you can have a better understanding. I have never used one before, but I really want to try one. If you have some kind of goal or new years resolution, I really suggest you give one a try.

Real quick before I say mine, here is some more information. If you want to make one yourself, you should really check this stuff out.
Freakanomics podcast about the topic
Wikipedia page about it

Here is some examples:
Commitment Devices created by Freakanomcis fans
Adam Scott's innovative method: It has worked for him pretty well, here is his blog (he has not posted in a while)

My Commitment Device
My commitment device is kind if simple. It is a monthly contract to keep me motivated at school and when working out. Each goal, (exercising and better grades) is worth $25, totaling to $50. If I keep my GPA above a 3.4, and continue to work out consistently, I will get to keep the $50. It absolutely has to be spent. I save almost all of my money, and I never buy myself much. This money must be spent. If I don't complete my goal, they money will be sent to one of the following organizations:
The American Communist Party
The American Fascist Party
The Westboro Baptist "Church"
gifted to a mod at
A super-PAC of a politician I don't like
John Cook of

A trustworthy, honest friend will hold the money. This friend can NOT keep it for himself, he must choose one of the listed organizations to give it to, should I fail.

This might not work for everyone, but it might work for me.

Have you ever tried something like this? Did it work? Are you considering trying one?

Offline Doc H

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Re: Commitment Devices
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2013, 10:50:00 PM »
I've heard of this from Tim Ferriss - the concept of "commitment devices." Also, Eben Pagan (David D) touched on this in Man Transformation. I think he called it "Leverage." I haven't tried it.

The Tao is both singular and universal. It is open to all with the resolve and the inclination to walk it. Those who do, however, take a variety of disciplines in approaching it, for the Tao extrapolates from the specific to the general. -Dave Lowry


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Re: Commitment Devices
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2013, 10:24:29 AM »
I have slightly changed my terms in my contract. It would look very bad if on a background check or something if  it popped up that I have donated to an organization like the West Boro Baptist "Church". My internet history is bad enough now. When researching terible organizations, I ended up on horrific sites that advocated racism, sexism, homophobia and Orwelian totalotarian dictatorships.

Offline Rob

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Re: Commitment Devices
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2013, 10:11:19 PM »
  XD Same here. I've been all over the place. Keep in mind though (lol) that companies won't do detailed background checks to the level that someone working for CIA would do. The most that HR will do is Google your name, check your Linkedin profile and Facebook page. Also, there are PRIVACY LAWS set in place that corporations must follow. Employers never want to be liable for misconduct, so they stay away from almost everything. Corporate philosophy is "don't rock the boat." At least that's what I think based on the info I picked up. I would do more research. Here's a good site I found:

However, I think it is safe if you sign up through certain sites like

These are all great for donating to "anti-charities." I got these sites and advice from Tim Ferriss (author of 4 hour workweek, 4 hour body, and most recently, 4 hour chef).
There is wisdom in silence.


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Re: Commitment Devices
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 07:00:38 AM »
Yeah that's true. I think my best way is to give it to the super PAC, because that kind of thing drives me crazy. Its working pretty, well, I have been eyeing down a new pair of vans for a while now, so I am excited for the reward.