Last month I shared how I’m holding myself accountable for finishing a draft of my second book by using a “Cut or Cut Pact.” In short, I told myself that if I didn’t finish the book by the end of May, I would let my 11-year-old triplets give me a no-rules haircut live on the Internet. If I do finish the book, we’ll celebrate by cutting a cake.
Yes, it’s rather extreme. And extremely motivating.
I learned about the power of pacts in Nir Eyal’s book Indistractable. If you have a big goal for your life and you’re currently procrastinating on it, I recommend you read his book. (In other words, I recommend everyone read his book.)
When I shared my pact with all of you, I was floored by the number of positive emails and messages I received. Thank you to everyone who took a moment to encourage me. It meant a lot!
It’s been four weeks, so I wanted to share an update on my progress and what I’ve learned as I’ve done this pact.
I’ve never in my life woken up consistently at 5:00 or 6:00am without an external motivator (aka a crying kid, a pre-scheduled workout class I’ve paid for, etc.). But my ace has been up at that hour every single day for the past month, weekends included. When my alarm goes off, I immediately picture my son Orlando with scissors and a gleam in his eye, and let me tell you… I’m out of bed.
The lesson? Pacts are motivating.
If I hadn’t told anyone, I wouldn’t do it
Committing to the pact publicly by sending that email to thousands of you also motivated me. If I’d kept my pact secretly to myself in my heart of hearts (which is where I usually keep resolutions, hence they usually fail), I’d have talked myself out of it. I’d have found excuses. I’d have been “too busy” or I’d have fallen back on my favorite personal cop-out: “life happened.” (I’ve always found that phrase funny… isn’t life happening every day? Why is that sometimes a reason for not accomplishing our goals?)
The lesson? If you want to keep a pact, it must be revealed to someone besides yourself.
I’m more productive than I think
I’d been procrastinating on this book for over two years. In the last month, I’ve produced over 30,000 words. The book is definitely not finished, and much of the writing is rough first-draft material, but it’s progress. It’s productivity. I’m taking measurable, visible strides toward an important goal. That feels darn good.
The lesson? A pact will make you more productive than you currently believe you can be.
Have a safety valve
Immediately after I declared my pact, I started to panic. Can I really produce an entire book in 6 weeks? My heart beat faster every time I thought about it. To calm myself down, I hopped on Airbnb and booked a 3-night stay near my house for mid-May.
This was my safety valve, my trick up the sleeve, my panic button. If all else failed, I’d have 72 kid-free hours in which to pound out the book. Knowing this safety valve exists has calmed my anxiety many times in the last month.
The lesson? Create a safety valve for your pact to ensure success.
One more thing…
You’re invited to a party… bring your own cake 😉
I’m going to reveal the results of my “Cut or Cut Pact” on a Facebook Live inside my Minimalism is Fun Facebook group on May 28 at 12pm EST.
I want you there.
My kids will be ready–forks in one hand, scissors in the other–as we open a box to reveal either a cake or some hair-cutting implements. Which will it be? You won’t know unless you join us!
Please bring your own cake to the party. Even if I end up with a haircut, at least you can eat it while you watch.
If you want to be part of this event, you’ll need to join my Minimalism is Fun Facebook group. I recommend you do that now, as I won’t be able to admit members at the last minute.
Click here to request to join the group so you can be part of the “Cut or Cut Pact” reveal.
One last thing… if you feel so moved, I’d love for you to send me an email at [email protected] to encourage me as I finish this pact. There’s power in words and every time someone tells me “You can do it!” I believe it about myself more. You have my word that if you’re ever reaching for a big goal in your life and need some words of encouragement, I will return the favor.