We are influenced by the world around us every day, whether we want to be or not. From the moment we wake up and check the news, to interactions with individuals throughout our day, and to finally turning in for the night, the power of influence is present in every decision we make.
Influence is often most apparent in our decisions when we are pressured and unsure of the correct path to follow. In his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” Robert Cialdini suggests that one way to overcome this form of influence is through commitment and consistency.
Cialdini notes that after making a commitment, individuals are more willing to agree to requests in keeping the commitment. There are two things to note here. One is to be conscious of the commitments you make. Do they align with your values and goals as a company or individual? Will these commitments hold true in the years to follow? The second aspect is how we can make these commitments effective and that can be achieved by making commitments active, public, effortful, and internally motivated. When these commitments become not only publicly a part of our daily lives but are initiated by our own internal motivations, we are more likely to commit and follow through with them.
Often the commitment itself is what leads to consistency. For example, say you commit to losing 20 pounds and because of this commitment you then begin to consistently attend the gym five days a week. By being reminded of this commitment through their actions, it strengthens an individual’s related self-image which in turn makes the commitment more personal and attainable.
How can this idea relate to your life or your work? It is simple, commitment and consistency go hand in hand. By being committed to making good decisions and making those decisions time and time again, we set ourselves up for success. When influences come into our lives that may stray us away from these good decisions, it is important to have commitment and consistency ingrained in ourselves, so that we do not waiver from the values and standards we hold to be true.