So why is commitment so highly valued? There are two main reasons. First, commitment breeds consistency, which is highly desirable and seen as a mark of integrity, honesty, and intellect. Inconsistency, on the other hand, is the domain of the irrational, dishonest, and mentally weak. Second, and more personally, committing to a decision simply makes life easier, by eliminating a choice for us to make once we’ve already made it. For example, in an election year, once you’ve decided which candidate you’re voting for, you don’t have to tax your mind with harsh campaign ads and crowded rallies. You’ve made your choice, and now you can commit to it.
This is a great way to save some brainpower, but what if you were tricked into a small decision that made you commit to a larger decision later? To save your integrity, your mind would push you towards a big decision you may not want to make. Compliance professionals use this all the time. Some nonprofits gather petition signatures not to turn them in to any organization, but because the act of signing is a commitment, and those who sign will probably feel natural about aligning themselves with the group later. Toy companies take this one step further by getting parents to commit to buying their children expensive toys at holidays.