The Power of Commitment

In high school I joined an Environmental Club, The Tree Huggers. Through beach clean-ups and saving energy, I found myself becoming eco-friendly. However, a nagging sense of apprehension creeped up on me. I was developing a growing anxiety about the possibility of my parents or friends catching me in a moment of environmental disregard. This eagerness to act on every instance of waste production was driven by a desire to be consistent. And consistency becomes even more pronounced when public image comes in. Why so? Perhaps because nobody likes being known as wishy-washy, we all want to hold a reputation of honesty and steadfastness. I felt no different.

Consistency extends beyond our individual lives and finds its place in the dynamic realms of Marketing, Advertising, and Persuasion. But what provides the “click” that activates the need for being consistent? Social psychologists think “commitment” is the answer. Toy companies like Hasbro, during festive seasons like Christmas, experience a boom in sales. But problems arise when sales go into a slump for the next few months after. How is this issue tackled? Step 1: Kids make a Christmas wish-list that parents promise to fulfill (I’ve totally asked mine to buy me Barbie’s Dream DollHouse!). Step 2: Toy companies undersupply the store with these popular toys during Christmas. Step 3: Parents buy substitute toys. Step 4: After Christmas, companies run ads for the not-bought-yet popular toys kids initially wanted. Step 5: Kids go whining to their parents, “you promised, you promised!”. Step 6: Parents go trudging off to the store to live dutifully to their words. Voila! The toys start selling like hotcakes (After all, shouldn’t we teach our kids that promises are made to be lived up to? :p)

Charitable organizations and NGOs similarly survive on donations. How do leaders convince people to open up their wallets and donate? They use the foot-in-door technique that Yeung, a British psychologist and author, also speaks about: getting people to say “yes” to a small request before using the power of consistency and making a bigger one. For instance, if we sign a petition in helping prevent birth defects, after making this small commitment, we are more likely to donate for the cause later.

This power of consistency is especially evident when it comes to public commitment. Imagine you’re at a New Year’s Eve party, sipping on champagne, surrounded by friends and family. As the clock strikes 12, you make a resolution to hit the gym more often. By sharing your resolution with others, you’re motivated to stay on track. In fact, 24 Hour Fitness encouraged their members to publicly commit and become part of their followers (Who doesn’t want to be that inspiring fitness fanatic ?!). This led to a massive 300 thousand new members.

Marketing minds recognize the power of consistency all too well. They generate sales by tapping into this special psychological trait that lies within us by starting with small, incremental steps and later moving forward to bigger steps, and by incentivising us to stick to our public commitments. Let’s face it, for reputation’s sake, we do what we gotta do!

– SaaniaSparkle 🧚‍♀️

25 thoughts on “The Power of Commitment

  1. I think that marketers over-reach when they assume that because you may donate annually, you will also be willing to donate more frequently. Many also think because you click on a link out of boredom or interest, you are possible mark for a charity that you feel no compulsion to support. Then there are the groups that sell your information to similar groups once they figure they have marked you as liberal/conservative/right wing/left wing or a label of their own devising.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “There have been times of late when I have had to hold on to one text with all my might: ‘It is required in stewards that a man may be found faithful.’ Praise God, it does not say ‘successful’.” (Amy Wilson-Carmichael, Things as they Are)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. SMiLes Ms SaaniaSparkle

    Human Beings By Social Animal Nature

    Bond And Bind Over Similar Ideologies And Symbols

    This is Essence of Culture/Religion/Politics
    And Human Philosophies too

    Like the Material Reductionism
    Of Our More So-Called Advanced

    Civilizations Versus The More So-called
    Primitive Cultures That Live Close to

    NaTuRE ALL ArounD Us in Living

    Balance For Real Meanwhile

    We Bond Over Language

    We Name Alphabets

    And Words to Materially

    Reduce Nature into CONCRETE THINGS

    AND YES Folks Bond and Bind around These
    Words That Become Vaulted And Named ‘Bibles and

    The Such’ Until Someone Breaks The Mold And Says Hey

    Not Doing Life in A Very Great Way of Breathing Balance

    Like LoVE iN Peace Anymore Yes Some Humans Are More

    Conservative And Traditionally Leaning ThiS WaY Others

    Are More Nomad And Get the You Know What Out of the

    Cave And Become More Like Butterflies in a ‘Safety Dance’

    That Doesn’t Make Any Concrete Sense at All Yet the Inner

    Joy of Coming to Be Ourselves Naked Enough Whole Complete

    Dear Lord Not So
    Anchored With

    Too Many

    CuLTuRaL Clothes

    That Imprison The Wind
    That Might Other Wise Be

    Us Never the Less Anchors Serve
    Purposes on Boats to Provide Safe Anchors
    in Familiar Harbors While Sails Do What Sails Do

    Explore More Gardens of Edens to Arise in Balance Greater

    Once Again

    Whole Complete
    Abundance That is Neither
    Apathy From Instant Gratification Or Anxiety of SCaRCiTiES

    Sweet Spot of the River FLoWinG Effortlessly in ‘Wu Wei’ Ease

    Master of the Within And One Who Understands Don’t Fall And
    Become a Tool

    So Far
    Nature’s Gifts For Real…

    Other Than That Thanks For Liking

    My Thank You’s on “Sohair’s Site” Yesterday

    As True You’ve Always Consistently Done That it Seems Hehe…

    Here’s Another Clue Don’t Waste Any Days Becoming Famous When

    You Already Have

    It All Naked
    Now Enough

    Whole Complete New

    Some Folks Get Lost
    ALonG The Way That Way too…

    OBTW My Wife and i Are ‘Honda People’

    My Sister And Her Wife Are ‘Subaru People’

    And She Even Lives Next Door to me in the Forest Deep iN Real

    Eden on EartH Yet In Some Ways We Don’t LiVE iN Caves of Tradition…


    The Law
    oF ALL Nature

    FRiEnDS With Gravity

    Way Up and Down iN TWiLiGHT Free..:)


  4. ….and so what happens when we don’t follow through with our commitment. Is this where psychoanalysis comes in to treat the feelings of not completing commitments???


  5. I learned the hard way by signing one petition. In the week that followed, I recieved over 100 emails from other organisations asking me to sign and donate to a mind-blowing selection of ‘good causes’. They ruined any chance of me considering their requests by completely saturating me with intentional’guilt’. I chose not to feel guilty, and unsubscribed.
    Best wishes, Pete.


  6. I volunteered a lot in my community for various causes. Over time, many more organizations came calling and asking for help. Eventually, I got burned out and had to step back. Maybe if everyone does a little, then a lot can get done.


  7. I agree, Saania, well said. But for me it is simple. Just try your best to live up to what you believe in. It doesn’t matter what other people think. Or what people try to get you to think. Or if you fall short at times. Just be yourself. And believe in yourself, accepting that sometimes you may for any number of reasons just find it too hard. That’s OK.

    Your posts are fantastic and I love to read them. They always get me pondering on things. Thank you.


  8. Bonsoir mon AMIE SANIA
    En cette fin de journée qui j’espère a été belle
    je t’envoie ce petit message sms mignon
    Des mots amicaux pour toi mon amie (i) fidèle
    Un simple message d’amitié douceur miel
    Pour te dire bonsoir et te souhaiter une bonne soirée
    Que ta nuit soit douce et des plus beaux rêves habitée
    Bisous affectueux et bises amicales

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear saania.
    You have written a very good subject Really speaking to remain consistent is essential to achieve success in every field but it requires strong will power We start a thing but within a week become lazy so many ex cuses But one must be consistent and commuted regular to get exillence.
    I like your blog very much keep it up
    Love. Dadi Sudha


  10. Beautifully written. The bottom line is that it’s all about manipulation. Companies do what they do by manipulating the public, through lies, such as lack of abundance, when there is no lack, causing panic buying, etc, which teaches people to shop early to avoid the panic. People are constantly manipulated by government, religions, institutions, etc. that’s why people have to think for themselves. A good question to ask oneself is: What’s in it for them?”


  11. Un petit message pour te souhaiter une bonne journée

    Pour te mettre dans la bonne humeur

    Allez réveille-toi si tu ne l’es encore pas

    En ce jour est l’espoir que quelque chose de merveilleux se produira

    Que ta journée soit belle est ensoleillée

    Pour toi

    Bise Amicale Bernard


  12. You are wise beyond your years. I am so guilty of the Hasbro syndrome as most parents and especially grandparents are. But it seems to me that commitment is kind of an art. New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken, but a real well thought out commitment has to be doable. So it has to be limited to not only a desire but also a mental and physical ability to follow through.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s