Better still, make a public commitment!
I discovered early on, that I am not very serious about a commitment I make to myself. Not very easy to admit, but true all the same. I have also observed that to be true for most other people.
When the commitment is to myself, I can easily convince me why I couldn’t keep it. There is really no loss of face. When the promise is made to others, if I don’t keep it, I could possibly lose face.
I have used this technique very effectively in my life.
The first time I discovered this when I was in my 12th standard. I realized that I was not putting in enough efforts towards the exam. I discussed it with a very close friend of mine, Mohan. Between two of us, we set up an agreement. We would meet each other every evening and tell each other what we planned to do during the next day. Next evening we asked each other if we did what we committed.
The funny thing was, I was a science student & Mohan was a commerce student. We didn’t really understand each other’s topics. However, it worked pretty well & because we kept our promises, we ended up doing pretty well in our 12th exam.
I routinely use this technique when I can’t trust myself to do something on my own.
I taught for about six years as a full time lecturer in an engineering college and hugely enjoyed it. The most hated job for me was to correct the exam papers. Left to myself, I would never correct them.
I used this technique. Even as the exam was underway, I would visit the exam room and declare to the students that they can come to my room and collect their papers on a certain day. Now my fate was sealed. . Either I have the papers corrected by then or cut a sorry figure! No points for guessing if the students got their papers on the promised date.
I used this technique very effectively when I was doing a part-time Diploma in Business Management. The classes were in the evenings and almost full day on weekends. During that period, I was working in a job in which I had to work in shifts, and at least once a week, had to continue into the next shift.
On the other front, this was a very happening period in my life. I had fallen in love during the first semester and was engaged to be married during the second semester. In the third semester, I was just married and in the fourth semester, I was about to be a father.
I had all the reasons not to do well in the course. I just had NO TIME to study for the diploma. I knew I had to study at least 10 hours a week.
That’s when I used the power of public commitment. In one of the lectures, I stood in front of the class and declared that I was going to top the course in the entire Mumbai University. Now if I didn’t do well, I would not be able to face my classmates.
I started finding time to study. Did I top the university? No. But I topped the college. Without the public declaration, I don’t know if I would have even cleared the course.
Are you are trying to make something happen? Exercise regularly? Quit smoking? Acquire a qualification? Use this technique. Make a public commitment.
If that is too much for you, find at least one person you can confide in, your spouse, a close friend, and set up a support system with that person. Commit to that person and let that person follow it up with you.
Do you want to make your commitments public? Post it in the comments below. Best of luck.