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Have you ever made a decision and after a while stopped following it? Maybe this happens again and again? In this video we will look at one principle you can follow to make it more likely you will stick to your decisions. And! You will see me trying to solve my social media addiction.

Looking for the video on the article? Here it is:

Have you ever made a decision and after a while stopped following it? Maybe this happens again and again? In this video we will look at one principle you can follow to make it more likely you will stick to your decisions. And! You will see me trying to solve my social media addiction.

So you have a hard time sticking to your decisions. Believe me, so do I. Let’s look at a struggle I have, currently. Something I’ve tried to fix many times in the past. I keep looking at social media. Many times during the day I check out youtube, facebook, twitter, reddit, medium and my podcast app, again and again and again. I want to fix that. During this video I’m going to make a decision that will take care of that. What do you struggle with, specifically? Let us know in the comments.

Why is it that we don’t stick to our decisions? To a certain degree it is a matter of personality. In the state of the art psychological personality model, called the big 5, there is a trait called conscientiousness. Conscientiousness, basically, is the capacity to do what you should do. This trait is very hard to change over time.


But not all hope is lost. Effectiveness is not just a matter of personality, it’s also a matter of skill, self-understanding and habits.

Let’s go a bit deeper. Imagine that at a certain time in the past you have taken a decision. Now, in the present, you have to behave in a certain way to stay on track (temptation). But for that to happen, you have to

  1. Remember your decision
  2. Still agree with the why of your decision
  3. Be emotionally motivated enough to do the right thing

What this means is that your decision has to be

  1. Memorable
  2. Have a strong why (intrinsic motivation)
  3. Have significant stakes (extrinsic motivation)

Another way to look at this is that we have two personalities, the planner and the doer. Usually, what happens, is that the planner is way too idealistic and doesn’t care about the doer’s opinion. The doer, then, just does what he wants. The more we play this game, the more the divide between planner and doer grows.

This article was brought to you by my supporters over at patreon (with a newcomer!).

So, we have analyzed what you need to make sure you follow through on your decision. What you need is strong commitment. The harder the action, the stronger the commitment needs to be. But how do you generate strong commitment? With a commitment ritual.

Rituals are tools to inject meaning into something. The more meaningful your decision, the more strongly you will be committed to it.
What are good elements of a commitment ritual?

  1. Physicality. Your ritual will be stronger if it involves moving your body, manipulating objects, using physical space.2. Witnesses. Humans are deeply social, and religious rituals from all ages.
  2. A sacrifice. Think about it: what you do when you commit to something is to sacrifice some short-term benefit for some long-term benefit. You can make the ritual more meaningful by enacting a real sacrifice, as a sign of your seriousness. Usually, a sacrifice is an irreversible action done consciously.