In the self improvement industry people are always being told to COMMIT to their goals. “You must commit to your plans, beliefs, values!” and so on…
Whilst this is true for gaining traction and getting results there is a danger that isn’t so well publicised when thinking about commitment.
What’s the danger?
Committing to things you don’t really want.
Committing to things you don’t really want can be going along with other people’s plans, ideas, or even old ideas you used to believe in but no longer do.
The psychology behind committing to yourself AND to others is powerful. You feel pressured into continuing a venture as there’s accountability and social compliance nudging you to take action. But if you aren’t happy with the goal, you’re actually going to feel worse and worse with every passing action you take.
Social compliance is a huge factor here. It’s easy to make many micro-commitments that eventually lead to larger results in the not too distant future. Gambling is a great example. Small bets over time lead to huge losses (most of the time) yet because you’re committed and feel the pressure to continue making bets, you carry on gambling.
We can be socially compliant from other people’s instructions, or “self” compliant to ideas we’ve invested much time, energy and money into. It’s so easy to get tunnel-vision and continue down a path to misery and dissatisfaction even if deep down you know you don’t want to keep going with a project.
If you doubt the sincerity of my message and that this stuff isn’t all that important, think of the last time you were sold something by a slick salesperson. If possible think of something rather high-ticket such as a car, house, course etc. How many small commitments did you make on the way to your big decision? Did you find yourself agreeing and saying yes to most questions?
The world of sales and marketing has taken advantage of social and self compliance for decades, helping them to make better profits and conversions from consumers. It’s a powerful psychological trigger.
SO, here’s the big question… Are you committed to something that you don’t really want or care about?
By learning about social and self compliance we can protect ourselves, making us less likely to make bad decisions. From our own thoughts and decisions to the thoughts and decisions of others we won’t be as vulnerable to commitment as we were before.
If you do find that you’re committed to something that you wish you weren’t, there’s nothing stopping you pulling the plug or changing the situation to make it more bearable. By coming clean with yourself about these areas you take the first step required to fix them. It eventually becomes a skill and a safeguarding mechanism against being so compliant with other people’s wishes and from continuing a journey you no longer want to make.
Life is fluid, things change. What interests you now many not interest you in six months time, so holding back on a huge decision could be wise and save you hassle in the long run.
Commit to things that you’ve thought out and REALLY want in life and notice when you’re being taken for a ride (or when you’re taking yourself for a ride!)…
Wrapping things up…
Overall, I’ve found that commitment is a widely taught mindset in the self improvement industry, however, it isn’t always shown in true light with its pros and cons in full view.
It can be dangerous and lead people to decisions and choices that don’t align with their values and desires in life. Dissect your own projects and mindset to see if you’d be happier committing to something else…
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