When individuals make public commitments to a course of behavior, the human psyche will push them to follow through with their commitments. For instance, we break New Year's resolutions because we seldom share them with others and usually do not write them down.
A fascinating phenomenon occurs when the commitment is made public or an individual pro-actively takes the first step to follow through with a course of action. An interesting research study found that although individuals are often unsure of their choices of the winning horse at a racetrack, they become much more confident of their choices once they place their bets. They are driven to consistency once they make public commitments to a course of action.
Therefore, experienced negotiators and mediators focus on getting individuals to publicly verbalize or write down each small commitment to follow a certain course of action (e.g. buy a car or resolve a dispute) knowing that once done publicly, it is highly likely that they will believe this is the best choice and will find a way to attain the object of their commitment.