Your Commitment to Optimism

Students of persuasion learn about the consistency principle as part of the basics. It is an essential tool for changing someone’s thinking and behavior.

The simple version is that humans don’t like to change their story. Once a commitment is made, we feel motivated to remain consistent with that commitment.

It is used in a number of professions, from sales to therapy. Today I’ll be applying it in a therapeutic way.

By the way, I know some of you will doubt me as you read this. You are welcome to do so. It doesn’t make a difference in the effectiveness of the technique. I suggest you try it for your own sake. It doesn’t happen immediately, and repetition helps. The application is as follows:

Tell yourself that you are optimistic about this year. That’s all you have to do. But you can go further if you want. Some other options:

Say it out loud. Write it down. Post it on social media. Those will all make the commitment stronger than simply thinking it (though that’s a good idea too).

But the most effective way to do this is have a conversation with someone where you claim it is your belief, even if deep down you feel doubts. Dig your heels into the dirt and push to make the words come out, “I am optimistic about this year because…” and feel true.

Something about the unpredictability of conversation makes this super effective. Try it. You can thank me later.


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