The Power of Public Commitment

Why does writing something down make us more likely to do it?

Robert Cialdini discusses this in this in his book, “Influence.” His research shows that humans have a desire to be perceived as consistent. If we publicly commit to do something and then act differently we can be seen as hypocritical or untrustworthy.

Writing something down is a public commitment of sorts. When you’ve written a goal you don’t have the luxury of “forgetting” the goal or of modifying it in your mind at a later time. Writing down your goal will engage your subconscious to act in ways that are consistent with that goal.

There’s a big group of people that advocate for SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Focused and Time-Bound. I think this is a great framework for goal setting. The power of a SMART goal is that you can imagine yourself accomplishing the goal. You can get a mental picture of yourself achieving the goal.

Maybe this is the first time you’re hearing about this idea. Test it out. Write a goal on a piece of paper and put it somewhere that you’ll see it everyday. Even better, tell your friends about the goal.

My wife and I have had great success in accomplishing the goals that we’ve written down. Maybe it is time for me to write a new goal…

Leave a Comment