“Anybody can accomplish amazing things if they reflect on what they value and then fully commit to it.” -Dr. Heidi Reeder
What does commitment really mean? Is it just a matter of will power and determination, or is there more to it than that?
Joining The Art of Charm to answer all these questions and more is Dr. Heidi Reeder. In episode 290, Dr. Heidi provides the science and the data behind the most pressing commitment quandaries in business, relationships and life in general.
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What exactly is commitment? Dr. Heidi, who has written for “Psychology Today” and appeared on “The Today Show”, defines commitment as being psychologically attached to something and intending to stick with it. So it’s a longer term process and perspective than determination and will power.
Dr. Heidi would know, her career focus is taking rigorous social science research and finding the application for it, such as her book “Commit to Win” and the 40 years of research it’s based on.
In this episode, she shares evidence that commitment is more than determination and will power, the 4 main factors that predict commitment, what random rewards are and how to utilize them in our relationships, and whether moving in together before marriage is a good idea… and many other commitment-related topics!
On the first topic, Dr. Heidi says the differentiating factor that makes a commitment a commitment is that commitment has a long-term perspective: you’re psychologically-attached and you stick in there to find and create the good. It’s like wedding vows, they are a promise you make on your wedding day. Your commitment is everything you do after that day.
The finer details of this show include:
Sliding vs deciding: what is it and why does it matter to your relationships?
Familiarity does tend to breed liking: true or false?
The sunk cost effect: what is it and what does it have to do with commitment?
Why people with the gold memberships at the gym never show up?
The Forbidden Fruit Hypothesis: fact or fiction?
And so much more!
She also explains the four factors that predict commitment: treasures, troubles, contributions and choices. She also explains what each of these are. Treasures are the things that we value in a situation like a job or a relationship. If it’s a job do we feel our skills and creativity are being fully utilized? Are we being paid appropriately? Things like that.
Troubles are obviously the detractors in the situation. Is our commute to work terrible? Does our boss not respect us? All of these are troubles.
By nature as humans we look at the balance of these. Do our treasures outweigh our troubles? Then we’re satisfied. If troubles outweigh the treasures, we are not satisfied which may lead us to look for a new job.
One interesting point she raises is that satisfaction doesn’t equate to commitment. That’s where the other two factors of commitment come into play: contributions and choices.
Contributions are what we’ve put into the situation. If you’ve been at your job for a decade, you’ve invested a lot of time and energy. If you’ve helped build the company, you’ve invested a lot of “sweat equity”. In either situation, you’ve made considerable contributions to your work situation which may cause you to stay.
Which segues next to the fourth factor: choices. Even if you’ve been with your company for 10 years and helped build it, if you believe you have choices (either real or imagined) it can play a significant role in how committed you are to your job.
Another fascinating topic is random rewards and how this is useful in increasing commitment in our relationships. A random reward is something unexpected, some kind of reward we receive out of the blue. For example, everyone can bring flowers or cook on Valentine’s Day but if you do it on a date that has no significance you’re providing a random reward for your significant other. There is immense satisfaction we receive from random rewards.
And I asked Dr. Heidi something I was dying to know: what does science say about living together before marriage? Science says if you move in together as a trial run and then you decide to get married, you are significantly more likely to get divorced.
BUT you can move in together if you already know you want to marry each other before you live together. Dr. Heidi explains the scientific data behind both statements and a whole lot more on this show.
The topic of commitment is an intriguing one and I was thrilled to have Dr. Heidi’s scientific knowledge explain what it is, what the components of it are, how to increase our commitment levels, and how those components impact our life choices from work to relationships to marriage. I hope you enjoyed this one as much as I did!
Resources from this episode: