Added by on 2014-02-05

Most of the time we know exactly what we need to do to make ourselves feel-good. Whether it is exercising every day, getting to bed early, quitting smoking, spending time with friends and family, losing weight, getting a new job, helping others, our simply getting outside more. Unfortunately even when we make promises to ourselves to do the things that make us happy we often get sidetracked by distractions, lack motivation or became easily discouraged when we fail.

If you have ever failed at trying to change a bad habit or create a healthy new one, you are not alone. Sticking to self-improvement commitments can be really difficult. It is little wonder that the self-help industry generated $11 billion in 2013.

Making promises to ourselves is often not enough and that to really increase the likelihood that we will follow through with our self-improvement commitments we need to put something on the line. Intuitively this makes sense and is backed by years of social and behavioural research. Studies show that making well-defined goals, writing them down, sharing them with others, and putting either your money or your reputation on the line can make your up to 10 times more likely to succeed.

Promise or Pay is an easy-to-use website that integrates these proven techniques to help you uphold your commitments and change the world for the common good. The formula is simple. You publicly promise to do something or pay a nominated contribution to a charity if you do not follow through.

Promise or Pay harnesses social media to make a goal public and thereby strengthen the intention of keeping it and integrates charitable giving to ensure a win-win outcome is always achieved and people are left feeling good. Either you keep your promise thereby benefiting yourself, or you contribute towards solving a pressing social problem via your donation, thereby benefiting others. In doing so, Promise or Pay helps overcome the disappointing and discouraging feelings that are often the aftermath of failing to accomplish something important.

By combining social motivation with charitable giving, Promise or Pay motivates people to do the things they most want to do with their lives, while creating a more engaging and empowering way to donate to charities that are making a real difference in the world.

So the next time you hear yourself saying “I really should…”, why not tell the world and put your money where your mouth is? You will significantly increase your chances of following through on those positive changes that are most important to your happiness. And the great thing is that if you slip up you will still feel good knowing that you are helping worthwhile charities fund their good work.

Make a promise and make a better world at

Guest blog article by
Jay Boolkin
Promise or Pay, Founder


  • Sam Bennet

    Cool idea