Ulysses Contract

A Ulysses contract is a freely made decision that is designed and intended to bind oneself in the future. In Greek mythology, Ulysses wanted to hear the Siren’s song although he knew that doing so would render him incapable of rational thought. He put wax in his men’s ears, so they could not hear, and had them tie him to the mast so he could not jump into the sea. He ordered them not to change course under any circumstances. Upon hearing the Siren’s song, Ulysses was driven temporarily insane and struggled with all his might to break free so that he might join the Sirens, which would have meant his death. -Wikipedia

A Ulysses contract can be a useful tool in pushing ourselves towards goals we consider worthwhile. One form it can take is just to announce to everyone you know, you are going to accomplish something, usually be a certain date. Save a certain amount of money, lose a certain amount of weight, etc. It should be in fact doable, otherwise what sense does the contract make?

My Ulysses contract with whomever reads this:

For many years, I have read diet soda is not healthy. The reasons given were usually vague or nonexistent. A couple of days ago, I read a short article that gave specific reasons for ditching diet soda. I estimate the diet soda I have on hand will last until October 16, 2018. I will try a 60 day fast from diet soda. I will update you on the 30th and 60th day. In the past, I haven’t always reacted in the fashion a study or recommendation predicted I would, but I will give it a fair try, which will be difficult because I really like diet soda. In the interest of full disclosure, I do have another test that I started a week ago that may color the results, I will do my best to sort that out. I increased my protein intake, and I already feel some positive results. “Now it begins”.


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