Commitment Devices

We can counter our own vulnerability and bolster commitment to better responses.  Some ways to self-impose and co-create commitments for behaviors that we know are in our best interest.  

We help our children do this.  A piggy bank is a commitment device, simply because they can’t get at the money for an impulse purchase.

Some adults do this by freezing their credit cards in ice.

In one study, college students were given the option to create their own earlier deadlines for three papers due by the end of the semester.  Seventy-five percent of them jumped at the chance.

People find ways of saving themselves from immediate cravings.  A study at the Harvard Business School looked at the ways people dealt with purchasing “want” products and “should” products.  They would devise ways to put off either purchasing or having delivered the “want” products to ensure they would do what they should do first.  

Based on the Harvard Business School study, corporations are challenged to help us bring out our better selves by packaging the “should” and “want” items in unique ways.  

Automatic withdrawal retirement funding is a commitment device that requires you to pay yourself first.