Persuasion Tactics That Will Make Your Goals Stick

“Commitment & consistency of character steers our actions”

If you’ve read any of my posts, you would by now realize that psychology and the workings of the human mind is something that I hold very dearly. After following, studying and understanding what top performers do differently to those that aren’t achieving in life, I have come to realize that it is less about actions, and more about the thought processes that go through the minds of these individuals.

This could be in the realms of weight loss, achieving athletic potential, becoming a successful business person, creating a happy and fulfilling life and anything else that people regard as successful or strive towards. The common thread that runs between all of them are not their specific actions, but rather how they view the world, themselves and how others view them, which is something I would like to dig a little deeper into in this post.

Currently I’m reading “Influence” by Robert Cialdini. A book that looks at how, what he calls “Compliance Professionals” persuades individuals or groups to be compliant to their requests. This mostly refers to marketers and how they can use psychology to persuade and influence people to become customers.

What I’m enjoying about it is to better understand the things that make us more compliant. What drives us to do things that we ordinarily wouldn’t do, or changes us to do different things.

Anyway… two things that stand out so far is the concept of consistency and commitment. And I would like to unpack these two concepts as to how it relates to achieving certain goals, whether weight loss or achieving certain levels of fitness and body improvements. And how we can use these two influencers to help us to get what we want.

As humans we have a inner necessity to be congruent. When what we think, say and do are aligned, our cognitive strain is less, we are able to move through life easier and others see us as someone they can trust. I’m sure you’ve dealt with someone that says one thing, but his/her actions show a completely different picture of them. This is incongruency and for most people, something that we strive to avoid (unless you are a pathological liar and take pleasure in misleading people).

We strive to create a consistent character that people can trust and expect us to act in a certain way. This can be to our advantage and disadvantage. Say for example, someone that has generally lead an unhealthy life, didn’t look after their body, did not care too much for what they ate, hated exercise and couldn’t be bothered about whether their next meal was paleo or not. For their friends, family and people around them, this is part of their character that they have come to know and expect from them. So when all of a sudden they start training and cleaning up their eating habits, people see it as something that is not them.

A common remark to this may be, “since when did you become such a health nut or exercise junkie?” While it may be innocent and made in a joking manner, it breaks down the momentum of the person looking to change and re-affirms to them that this new thing they are doing, is not really them. It’s not consistent with their character that others have come to expect. With enough comments, remarks or even just strange looks, before you know it, that person would find it very easy to fall back into the character that others expect of them.

In a way, other peoples’ expectations of us (based on past experience about us), tends to pressurize us into being consistent with that character. Parents take note: The small comments and remarks that seem harmless will start to become the things that your kids feel pressurized into becoming. Things like “Maths just isn’t your strong point”, “maybe better to stick to sports without any ball” or “some people are born with some talents and others not”.

So the question is, how do we get past that? How do we get off this train that is hurtling down the tracks for a destination that everyone seems inevitable? This is where the psychology of commitment comes into play. Firstly in terms of getting people to change their perceptions about us and then to create a congruency within us.

When we think about commitments, we may think about new years resolutions, decisions to eat healthier or to start training at the gym. It could even be a decision to start a new business on the side from what you’re already doing. For most people this decision, this commitment is made within ourselves. It happens in our head and usually stays there. Maybe you talk to someone about it, but for the most part is stays in a private, non-tangible form.

What would happen if you were to announce to the world, to those that know you well and to those that don’t, that you are going to make specific changes to your lifestyle to become healthy, fitter and better looking? You would most likely get a few people giving it a like, commenting on it or ask you the next time they see you, “How’s it going with that?”.

What type of commitment do you think you would have towards that decision, now that others are asking about it? They would be holding you accountable to that and creating a new expectation of you. You have now created a new path to which you need to be congruent and consistent.

Let’s take that a step further and let’s do that everyday. Reminding not only yourself, but others about your commitment to change. What would happen then? Not only will you get some likes, comments and follow ups to how you are doing, but you will start creating some serious momentum for yourself and maybe create some inspiration for others to follow along.

I’m sure as you’re reading this, you can already start to feel the change that is possible. But here is the crux of making it work… It needs to be made publicly. Is it going to be difficult? YES. Why do you think public speaking is the second highest fear humans have after death? Because everyone is looking at us, holding us accountable for our words and our actions. But man, if you can just get over that seemingly large step, momentum will take you in directions you never thought possible.

This very post is fruit of my own public commitment to write an article every week. Because others expect me to do this, I make it my duty to create something of value for others to read and be able to implement into their lives.

So here is a synopsis of how you can take these principles to create momentum and consistency in achieving whatever it is you have set your mind to, not matter what excuses you have come up with thus far.

1. Make a public commitment or pledge to as many people as possible. People that you know and value as individuals in your life and people you don’t know yet. You have no idea how those strangers could become major role players in your life in the future.

2. Write it down pen to paper. It’s easy to type or text things these days. But the connection made between mind, hand and the action of writing, creates a super strong bond. By writing it down, you are showing to yourself, that it must be important. Which is more important to you, a typed out text message from your romantic partner or a hand-written letter?

3. Put it on video. While we may not like public speaking, by videoing yourself in the comfort of your own home, you are able get it out to the world, without actually standing in front of all those people. This greatly enhances your commitment to be consistent with your own words.

If great marketers in world are using certain tactics to get us to willing purchase things that we don’t really need, but are convinced that we want them, then why can’t we use some of these tactics to persuade us to get the things in life that we really want. Now go out and make those commitments for the world to hear.

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About The Author

Neil Scholtz

Neil Scholtz is a certified Personal Trainer turned CrossFit coach. He has competed at the CrossFit Games and coached athletes that have competed at the CrossFit Games, but that's not his main focus. Most of his time is spent consulting or coaching individuals to improve their lives through fitness. He has worked with over 1000 individuals from various walks of life. Tailoring solutions to their lifestyle needs.

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