Friday, April 9, 2021

Second Quarter Check-In

Believe it or not, we're a week into the second quarter of 2021. For anyone like me whose shiny new January commitments feel like they're wavering a bit, I'll share something I read recently about entering into contracts with yourself. 

The gist is that we are much more inclined to keep contracts/promises/agreements made with an outside party because we can better envision and anticipate the consequences. If you promise you're going to meet a friend for an outdoor, socially-distanced coffee and you don't, you know that without a very compelling reason for your absence, your friend will be a little perturbed. Plus, being reliable is common courtesy.

But we break promises to ourselves all the time, often without a second thought. The problem with that is, we become accustomed to our unreliability. A way to be more mindful about this is simply to write it down. 

Take one or two of the more important items from your to-do list and elevate them to the next level of commitment by writing a contract with yourself. 

  • Give each a separate slip of paper. 
  • Be as formal (I, the undersigned, hereby affirm...) or as casual (I'm Gonna _______) as you wish. 
  • Use specific language regarding what you will do and when. Big statements such as "I will clean the garage" can end up feeling wishy-washy and/or overwhelming. Give yourself a wide enough window to account for the life's unpredictability.
  • Sign and date the bottom.
  • Post it where you will see it every day.
  • When the contract is fulfilled, give it a big star or an A+ for a job well done.
  • If you don't manage to follow through for whatever reason, assign a consequence and renegotiate the terms.
The month of March showed me how easy it has become for me to not get much done. I have pandemic and work-from-home burnout, and I'm just kind of tired. So maybe a contract is what I need to recommit. But first I have to commit to making a contract.

How was your first quarter of 2021? Any changes upcoming for Q2?


  1. I don't need a contract, I just need to write it down. (wow this year is flying...)

    1. Each year seems to go faster than the last. I haven't figured that out yet!