Please Stop Me from Twisting My Arm Behind My Back

The commitment and consistency concept:

  1. Ask an easy, no-brainer question first that the person knows the answer to without having to think, in order to get them to go on record with their answer.

  2. And then ask progressively more difficult and more difficult questions until you get the ultimate concession you’re seeking.

  3. When people go on record, rarely will they back down. They want to be consistent with each previous answer so they won’t lose face. A small commitment gets them started. Consistency is the motivator that gets them to make larger concessions.

Persuasion is about convincing people to do what’s best for them. Including yourself. Let’s call it “self-persuasion”. The toughest person to persuade is yourself, otherwise you wouldn’t always be asking, “Why can’t I get myself to do what I need to do when I need to do it because I know how to do it and why I need to do it but I can’t get myself to do it so what is wrong with me?”

Nothing. You’re just normal like the rest of us. But if you haven’t noticed, you are always, subconsciously, persuading yourself to do what you need to do whether you like it or not.

For example, you workout every morning before breakfast. Maybe you have a treadmill at home. You always do some warm-up exercises before starting. But this morning, because you didn’t sleep well last night, you think you’ll skip the workout. But you know you should get on the treadmill. You know how important your health is. You know how good it makes you feel when you complete your three-mile walk/run. So how do you persuade yourself to suit up and get with the program?

Well, you’ve already started. Health, you remind yourself, is important. That’s the easy, no-brainer germ that starts commitment and consistency. And, yeah, you remind yourself that you do feel good after you’ve finished. “Maybe I’ll just do my warm-up exercises and call it a day,” you tell yourself. Small steps. Commitment and consistency. You slip into your workout clothes. Small step. You go into the room with the treadmill and start with your deep-breathing exercises. Easy. No sweat. Small step. You do a few yoga poses to limber up. Small steps. When you finish with those you tell yourself, “Okay. Maybe I’ll walk for five minutes. I can do that. Better than nothing.” Start up the treadmill. Get on. Small steps. After five minutes, “I can do fifteen minutes. I’ll run some.” Faster steps. Forty-five minutes later you’ve put in your daily three miles after all. You’re feeling good. You forgot about last night’s lost sleep.

Voilà! And that’s how you use self-persuasion. Whether you’re using it to cook dinner tonight, to read some more of the new book from Amazon, to complete that report, to clean out the garage, to paint that room, or to weed the garden you always start small. You talk to yourself. You see the pictures of the goal reached in your mind. You get the feelings that you want. And then you get into action.

Small steps. Big results. Great feelings.

For the cornerstone blog on the commitment and consistency technique see my blog “You Can Play with Your Roadkill, but Don’t Eat It.”

To see how commitment and consistency is used in your personal life see my blog “I Know What You’re Doing to Me, So Why Can’t I Stop It?”

To see how commitment and consistency is used in business see my blog “You Don’t Clean a Loaded Gun While Looking Down the Barrel.”

To see how to develop questions to qualify/disqualify prospects see my blog “Quit Shooting from the Lip. You’ll Hurt Yourself.”