UPDATE 3-14: Let me summarize the below post in a few words:
Making a deal with yourself involves three main parts:

  1. What am I going to do? “Get more exercise,” “Get more organized,” “Pay my bills faster.” (Situation appraisal, Objectives)
  2. How am I going to do it and how will I measure success? (Measures of success, Expression of value, Methodologies and options, Timing, Joint accountabilities, Terms and conditions)
  3. Am I sure? Yes, I’m sure. (Acceptance)


You know that it’s a little hard to trick yourself into doing something! For example, you may be one of these people, or you may know people who set their watches a few minutes fast (umm… like me).

So what are the ways that you could make a deal with yourself that you’ll actually keep?

Let’s take a note from the nine components of a good proposal (by Alan Weiss in this book (p. 33)):

  • Situation appraisal
  • Objectives
  • Measures of success
  • Expression of value
  • Methodologies and options
  • Timing
  • Joint accountabilities
  • Terms and conditions
  • Acceptance

I found Alan Weiss through a link from Idealawg.

What might it look like?

  • Situation appraisal.
    “So, Senia, you haven’t gone to the gym in three months, and you call yourself an athlete. You’re unhappy when the steps leave you out-of-breath, and you want to be running regularly. Where does that leave you?”
    “It makes me want to change a few things around.”
  • Objectives.
    “Your goal is this number of pounds benched and this number of chin-ups completed, plus the ability to run this number of miles any old day of the week, right?”
  • Measures of success.
    “How are you going to measure success?”
    “By the number of times I get to the gym each week (3-5), by whether all of these factors – the number of pounds I bench, the number of chin-ups I do, and the number of miles I can comfortably run – all increase by 50-100%.”
  • Expression of value.
    “I think you’ve got the resolve to actually do this. Your daytime hours and productivity will absolutely increase from this.”
    “I have the sense they will.”
  • Methodologies and options.
    “Ok, HOW?”
    “Ok, this way: a) Gym in the morning early before anything else, b) Eat healthily throughout the day, c) Choose my good constraints, d) and enjoy it!”
  • Timing.
    “Next two months sounds ok?”
    “Sounds good!”
  • Joint accountabilities.
    “Ok, well if I’m responsible for getting you to the gym before work, then can you be responsible for laying out the workout clothes the night before, and for having a great breakfast ready to go for after?”
    “You bet!”
  • Terms and conditions.
    “Ok, you get two months to show me you’ve got this in you.”
    “No problem!”
  • Acceptance.
    “Ok, deal. We start tomorrow.”
    “Ok, deal, I’ll make sure to have the clothes ready tonight!”

Haaaaaaaaaaave fun!

Image: running.

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