I just keep derailing over and over - help me stop!

I derailed on my magick goal last night again. I wanted to try to do a magickal ritual every day but I’ve been procrastinating on this particular goal a lot lately and have been stung a few times.

It’s a $5 pledge, so I can’t just accept losing $5 every time I don’t do it - that’ll be like $100 a month - but $5 each day is not enough to motivate me when I have my $810 goal that I’m very focused on getting done by midnight.

And when I finish working by midnight, I need a little break, and then it starts getting late and I’m tired and I never do the magickal ritual.

I could use some help on this. Brainstorming :brain: :cloud_with_lightning: some thoughts:

  • maybe I need to stagger the deadlines so they’re not at the same time
  • maybe I need to lower the rate if this is something I don’t actually wanna do every day
  • maybe I need to lower the pledge if I’m gonna derail a lot
  • maybe I need to raise the pledge so it motivates me more!
  • maybe I need to streamline the task so I procrastinate on it less, or figure out what about it is making me procrastinate
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How about turning it into a whittle-down goal, since you’ve discovered those are very motivating for you?

The only other suggestion I have is to focus on it first thing in the day—this is based on my own goal behavior, where I have two goals I like to get done before work, and if I don’t do them then, they just don’t get done that day.


I’ll repeat Tim Ferris’ recommendation in this case: Lower your expectations drastically. Don’t commit to doing this once per day but, say, once a week. Do it on the weekend, when your $810 goal isn’t due. I’m assuming.


If the value you place in that behavior is accurately presented by your $5 pledge, then I’d go with @phi–reduce your commitment since you’re regularly deeming other things to be worth more than the value you place in accomplishing this goal.

If $5 doesn’t accurately represent the value you place in achieving that behavior, then I’d suggest adjusting your pledge, whether that’s increasing or decreasing it.

After I made that change, I’d personally definitely think about changing the deadlines so that the two goals are less likely to conflict with each other.

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But how do I tell?

I’m going to try:

  • moving the deadline to 3pm
  • increasing the pledge to $10

Let’s see how that goes.


Huh, you’ve stumped me. :thinking:

I think I recall @dreev recommending that you ask yourself what’s the worst thing that could happen that you’d still want to do the behavior, and then ask yourself what the smallest amount of money is that would still motivate you to complete the goal in that situation.

But now it’s going to bug me that I don’t have a simpler answer to this question. :wink:

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It might be necessary to differentiate here between certain types of goals. For instance, say you got a goal to “clean the dishes”. There you could easily ask yourself: “Would I pay someone $5 to do the dishes for me?”
But that does not necessarily translate to behaviours you want to establish for yourself. “Would I pay someone $5 to get up early for me?” doesn’t really work, nice as that would be :wink:
Actually – well, sort of. Say you had a legal obligation to plow the snow every morning at 6am so your neighbours don’t slip and fall. There’s businesses you can pay to get up early for you and do that for you :stuck_out_tongue:
A better example might be: “Would I pay someone $5 to meditate for me?”.

Right, especially where the value to me comes from establishing that daily pattern. Like I really want to get in the habit of doing this magickal ritual every day, and having that ritual established would be worth thousands of dollars to me, but how do I put a value on just one instance?

I guess I could discount at a constant rate and sum an infinite series - so if having the habit established is worth $10,000 and I discount at 6% annually, I could calculate an annual value:

10,000 = sum(x*(1-r)^i) where i goes from 0 to infinity 
= x * sum((1-r)^i) where i goes from 0 to infinity 
= x/r
So x = 10000r.

So if r = 0.06, x = 600

That’s $600 a year, or $1.64 a day, if I have the math correct - but that amount is so low that I’d probably never do it if that were the pledge.