What is BurnTheBoats?

BurnTheBoats helps you achieve your goals. It's a free goal-setting platform that uses pre-commitments to leverage social accountability. It's based on studies that show that sharing your goal too early can make you less likely to succeed.

How does it work?

After providing a goal and due date, you list the email addresses of people who will keep you accountable. On the due date, we will email your commitment statement to those people. By thus precommitting yourself, you "burn the boats" and remain motivated by the certainty of your recipients learning about your commitment.

Normally, there is no way to prevent your email from being sent once you Burn The Boats. However, emergencies do occur. For those, you must provide a "bail-out price" along with your goal statement. For that price, you will be able to cancel your email if you are forced to abandon your goal. This gives you a "life preserver" you can use for more uncertain goals. Don't set your bail-out price too low, because it will give you a tempting out when the going gets tough. To truly Burn The Boats, provide an astronomical bail-out price.

Why should I not share my goal right away?

BurnTheBoats differs from other social accountability goal-setting platforms in that it does not divulge your goal to your support group right away. This is because research shows that sharing your goal upfront creates a "social reality" in your mind that can make you significantly less likely to achieve your goal. There are other good reasons to keep your goal to yourself, including people telling you your goal can't or shouldn't be done. Watch this 3-min video for more on the science behind it. Watch this 3-min video for more on the science behind it:

Is this based on research?

Yes. Social accountability is a powerful motivator used by other goal setting sites like Beeminder and Stickk. BurnTheBoats takes that idea a step further, incorporating research that shows that one should not share self-development goals before achieving them:

Is there any way to make a small change to my goal after I Burn The Boats?
No. The only way is to pay the cancellation fee, which you set when you submit your precommitment contract.
Can I change the name or email I provide?
Will recipients receive emails other than the one informing them of my commitment?
Will my information be sold or distributed to anyone?
Can I add recipients to my email after I Burn The Boats?
No. But you can Burn The Boats again with a different set of recipients.
How do I pay the cancellation fee?
If you need to cancel your email, log in and click on your contract. There will be a button to pay the amount you entered upon submitting your contract. The only form of payment accepted is major credit cards. Unfortunately there are no exceptions to this, as the system is completely automated.
If I pay the cancellation fee, where does my money go?
It goes to support this site.
How do I log in to manage my contract after submitting it?
Click here to receive a log-in link. There are no passwords on BurnTheBoats.
What are the rules?
Need to get in touch?
Drop us an email.
How can I learn more about BurnTheBoats?