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Commitment is a scary word for many people.  I know a lot of people who say ‘I don’t like commitment.’  They want to make sure they have a get out clause available to them so that they can make a hasty retreat if they so choose.  And this is where the problem lies, being committed to something should be absolute, there should not be any other option!

As heavy and boring as the word ‘commitment’ may sound, this is the bridge between where you are now and where you want to be.  And only a few people are willing to cross that bridge of commitment and do what it takes to succeed, whether they feel like it or not.

Why do so many people declare their new years resolutions on 1st January and then fall over days later?  There could be a variety of reasons for this but one of the key reasons is a lack of commitment to their goals.    

I’ve read in many places that commitment is ‘doing the thing you said you were going to do long after the feeling in which you said it in is over’.  If we let our feelings rule us, we will never accomplish anything!

On January 1st we wake up with a brand new slate, a whole shiny new year ahead of us and we feel elated, unstoppable, invincible!  We just know that this year is going to be ‘our year’!  But do you still feel this way two, three weeks in?  Most of us don’t!  Our goals and dreams suddenly represent hard work that we don’t always feel like putting in.  This is the same reason why the packed out gyms in January are almost empty a month later!

Commitment means do or die, ‘burning your boats’ as in the case of Hernan Cortes who ordered his men to sink all their ships upon arrival – they were left with no choice but to win (or die).

This might seem a little extreme, but the moment we give ourselves any wiggle room, we don’t give our all to what we want to accomplish.

We must always BE before we can DO … and one of the most important things we must ‘be’ is committed to the success we want to create – whether we feel like it or not.

Creating a life that you love is a journey, it won’t happen overnight – but building these characteristics into our being will help us become the person we need to be to accomplish our goals.

Here are 6 simple ways to help you commit to your goals. 

1 – Find your WHY

You need to have a strong enough reason to get out of bed and do what it takes to create the life you deserve.  That reason – your ‘WHY’ – needs to be stronger than your reason for not doing what it takes.  Maybe your ‘why’ is your family.  You know they deserve a better life and you know that you can create it if you put the work in.  Or maybe your why is something less tangible – perhaps freedom from a soul sucking job you hate.  These are strong reasons and should be enough to get you going when you don’t necessarily feel like it.  If you can, put up reminders of your WHY somewhere prominent to remind you of the importance of being committed to your goal.  For me freedom was important and I had a picture of the Scottish ‘Braveheart’ shouting ‘Freeeddoooom!’ on my fridge as a reminder to myself!  That always got me going!

2 – What’s the alternative?

Humans are primarily driven by pain or pleasure.  In the short term it gives us pleasure to laze around and not put in the work that’s required to propel us in the direction of our dreams and goals.  But in the long term this only causes us pain, because we stay ‘stuck’ in the cycle of being mediocre, of settling for less, of not being willing to do what it takes to succeed.  If you look at the bigger picture, what’s the alternative to not putting in the work, to not truly committing to your goal?  An endless life of lack, limitation, drudgery and misery?  Is it really worth not making the effort?  This often puts things into perspective.

3 – Focus on what you want (not on what you don’t want!)

It’s easy to stay focused on the short term ‘pain’ we have to endure to get what we want.  The more we focus on the perceived pain, the more difficult its going to be for us to follow though.  Instead, focus on what you’re going to achieve – your end goal!  Do you think an Olympic athlete stays focused on getting out of bed at 5am every day to train, on having to deny themselves pizza and ice cream, of having to have an early night instead of a night on the town with their friends?  They don’t give that a second’s thought – instead they focus on standing on that podium at the Olympics, holding that gold medal in their hand, feeling its coolness and weight against their skin, hearing the crowds roar, hearing their name being announced as the winner.  For them, it’s well worth sacrificing junk food and late nights.  And it should be worth it for you too!  Every day, make time to visualise your end goal so that you can align your actions with making this a reality!

4 – Make it a habit

As they say, first we make our habits and then our habits make us.  If you know what you need to do, keep doing it consistently until it becomes a habit.  Then it becomes second nature and doesn’t become so difficult to do.  Do you have to talk yourself into brushing your teeth or showering?  Or do you just do it (hopefully you do!)?  These are nothing but habits and this can be done for any action.  The more you have to think about it, the more you will make excuses as to why you’ll ‘do it tomorrow instead’.  If you haven’t already, download our free Habits Tracker and guide to set you up for success!

5 – Raise your standards

This is a big one for me personally.  What do you think of yourself?  Do you treat yourself the way you treat other people?  Would you be two hours late for an important work meeting or just not turn up for a scheduled dinner with a friend?  It’s likely we would be nag on time for both events because we respect the people we’re meeting with and the time they are making to see us.  We need to respect ourselves the way we respect other people – in fact more so!  If we make the decision to do something to change our lives for the better, then we need to stick to that promise we made to ourselves.  Look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘I raise my standards for myself and my life!  I deserve more and I’m willing to do what it takes to make it happen!’  Expect more from yourself than feeble half-hearted attempts to change your life for the better.  Don’t accept excuses from yourself – commit to yourself the same way you would commit to someone else!

6 – Choose your feelings (don’t let them choose!)

One of the main reasons why we don’t stay committed to what we need to do is because we don’t feel like it.   You will never achieve anything great if you let your feelings control you and what you do.  There will ALWAYS be days you don’t feel like doing the things you need to do.  I’m sure the president has days he/she doesn’t feel like getting out of bed and would rather lie in!  But he or she is committed to their country and their people and does what it takes without letting feelings overcome them.  Remember, you can CHOOSE your feelings, don’t let them choose!  You may wake up feeling like crap, but you can get out of bed and declare ‘today I choose to feel amazing!  I choose to do the things I need to do today to create a better tomorrow!’

Commit to excellence!   Commit to being outstanding!  You can only live an outstanding life if you are outstanding yourself.  As within, so without.  If you couldn’t be bothered to put in any effort half the time, then it will surely reflect in your external world!  If you commit to success, success will commit to you!  What vision do you have for your life?  What do you need to do to make that vision a reality?  Start today to take the steps necessary to make that dream come true, regardless of how you feel.  Your level of commitment will be the difference between success and failure!

Do you have a vision for your life?  My blog post ‘3 steps to creating your personal vision’ – which includes a free worksheet for you to start creating that vision right away – will help you go from vague idea to crystal clear vision in no time.