Forcing Functions Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

A few weeks back, I read the term forcing function and have not been able to get it out of my head since.

What is a forcing function, and how can it help you?

A forcing function is any task, activity or event that forces you to take action and produce a result. Forcing functions can help you achieve your goals.

It is owning a dog because you want to be more physically active. It is joining Toastmasters because you want to get over your fear of public speaking. It’s committing to publishing a weekly blog because you want to improve your writing skills.

Signing up to compete in a weightlifting competition, so you get serious about your workouts is a forcing function. Agreeing to host the family Thanksgiving dinner so you’ll finally finish painting that wall is a forcing function. Hiring a coach is a forcing function.

A forcing function is about adding weight, structure and accountability to something you already want for yourself. Can I really look into my dog’s pleading eyes and not get out of bed in time to take him for a walk? I can, but it’s more challenging to stay in bed. The result – I’m more physically active. Will I work on my speaking skills if I’m not a member of Toastmasters? Probably not because it’s hard for me. Knowing people will ask why I wasn’t at the meeting helps get me there, and once I’m there, the expectation is that I will practice speaking. I know for sure, had I not committed publicly to posting a blog each week, I would have given up writing a long time ago. Blogging is a forcing function to help me improve my writing skills.

Forcing functions help us move in the direction we want for ourselves. They’re the systems we create to take the decision-making out of those daily or weekly activities that help move us in the right direction. Despite the word forcing, these structures create more ease in our lives. We only have to decide once when we buy the dog, sign up for that class or hire the coach instead of choosing every, single time.

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

James Clear, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
What structure or forcing function do you have in place to help you keep moving in the right direction?

This Week’s Photos

One of my favourite forcing functions is owning a dog because it gets me out to enjoy beautiful walks every day. This week’s photos are taken on some of those walks.


The work I do as a coach focuses on personal growth. That could include but is not limited to: developing courage, clarifying values and honouring those values in your life, setting boundaries, becoming more assertive, developing self-awareness and confidence, setting goals, finding your inner strength, identifying and dealing with the thoughts that sabotage you, support in making changes or in going through transitions, and work on discovering your life purpose. Personal growth can have a profound and positive impact on your career, your work and personal relationships and your general satisfaction with life.

I am currently in the process of adding a mental fitness component to my coaching practice. This is a combination of positive psychology, performance science, neuroscience and cognitive psychology. Stay tuned!

Connect with me here if you are interested in coaching.


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