How To Make An Effective Commitment

Have you ever made a commitment with so impassioned, but ultimately you are violating that commitment? Have you ever said “just this once I would violate…” but it turns out you violate that commitment again, again, and again? If you’ve experienced it, chances are it because there is no (or very little) pain that you experience when you are breaking your commitment.

I will give you an example. Suppose that you are a smoker, and you commit yourself not to smoke anymore. One time, when you want to smoke, you probably remember your commitment. However, you also think “No one knows that I’ve made that commitment… No matter if I break them.” Finally, you go back to smoke, and your commitment will only be an unfulfilled desire.

To make an effective commitment, create a situation where you will become painful enough if you violate that commitment.

From my experience, one powerful way to do that is to conduct a “public commitment”. Doing a “public commitment” means that we publish our commitment to others, so that other people know what our commitment is, and know when we break them. “Public commitment” makes us aware that our commitment is also being watched by others, so that we will be more reluctant to break them. The worse the consequences of violating a commitment, the more faithful we are in carrying out our commitments.

For example, let’s return to the smokers’ case. He can conduct a public commitment by telling his friends: “If you find me smoking one cigarette, I’ll treat you all you want!” Well, that way, the smoker is certainly not going to smoke, or at least more reluctant to smoke, especially when there are his friends around.

It takes great courage to make this public commitment, especially for a public commitment that affects much if violated. However, if you really serious and want to change, you would have dared to make public this commitment.


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