We have recently discussed the four qualities it takes to succeed at lifestyle change – motivation, commitment, dedication and sacrifice. This week we focus on ‘commitment’ to see what it really means and reflect on how committed we really are to our goals.
What does commitment mean to you?
To me, commitment means a promise that you are going to do something. If I make a commitment, I will go through with it, whatever it takes. I am either committed or I’m not, there are no half measures.
Commitment to your goals means that nothing gets in the way of achieving what you are chasing. It means that you will do everything you can to make sure that you get what you want.
Commitment to your goal requires you to show some dedication, devotion and an unwavering passion to do whatever it takes to achieve your dream.
The Commitment Scale
I appreciate that we aren’t all the same, and different people will have different levels of commitment to different things at different times in their lives. But I want to explore how that can be described and illustrated.
After doing some research, I have found that there are actually 4 levels that can be applied to commitment. These levels describe just how committed a person might be. You might be able to recognise yourself in some of these levels, in different aspects of your life.
The first level is ‘distraction‘ when we are literally all over the place. Like a magpie, we want whatever gets our attention at that particular moment in time. We say we want one particular thing, then something else appears, that is metaphorically shinier and prettier and we get distracted, and this new thing becomes the focus of our commitment, albeit for the short term. In terms of my own weight loss and fitness quest, this meant I would jump from one fad diet to another, one type of exercise to another, hoping all the way, that this would be the magic bullet that would get me to my goal weight. But because I jumped from one thing to another on a weekly or monthly basis, never sticking at anything, I never achieved what I set out to, I was too distracted. In my view this isn’t actually commitment at all, it’s just fluttering around having a bit of a go at things, but not actually demonstrating any true commitment.
The second level is ‘decision‘. This is where we make a specific decision that we are going to take action, focus our attention, from all the other shiny objects that were previously a distraction. Here we may or may not begin to achieve, because we need to take it further, and make a bigger investment to see the goal through. I think this is when a person makes a decision to perhaps start a program like ours, but then doesn’t actually learn from the program, or apply any of the techniques recommended by the program, they are just paying the subscription. To actually achieve something, we need to more than decide to take action, we have to follow through on that decision. This is when we need to devise a plan to see the commitment through to the end.
The third level is ‘discipline‘. It;s that point where you say ‘Right, I’m gonna do it!!‘ When we are at this level, we discipline ourselves to ensure that the daily activities we need to undertake, the small process goals that we set ourselves, are achieved. It’s these small goals and daily activities that we need to undertake that get us to our long term goals. This is when we follow the plan that we have devised, and make sure we see it through every day. We know exactly what we have to do, and we make sure it gets done.
The fourth and final level is ‘dedication‘ to the goal and the plan – NO MATTER WHAT! When we are dedicated to our goal, this is the place where nothing gets in the way of achieving our dreams. This is where success lives! It requires all the previous levels to have taken place – the decision to take action, and then be disciplined enough to devise a plan and follow through with our daily tasks and goals, but then the dedication to continue with this until the goal is achieved. This is true commitment to your goal. This is where you stay focused on the job in hand to ensure that the task is completed, no matter what. Nothing else is more important. This is where you plan and prepare ahead to ensure that absolutely nothing gets in the way of what you are trying to achieve. This dedication continues until the final goal is achieved.
Commitment and Performance
Think about commitment as ‘coins’. Commitment is the price you are willing to pay to achieve your goal. Our performance towards our goal reveals the price that you have paid. It reveals how many ‘commitment coins’ that you have paid to achieve that goal.
A great performance shows that you value your goal highly, and that you were willing to pay a lot of ‘commitment coins’ for your goal. A poor performance shows that you don’t value your goal very highly, because you aren’t prepared to pay very many ‘commitment coins’ for your goal. The result of a poor performance is that you won’t actually achieve your goal.
Your performance is what you do every single day, to keep moving towards your ultimate goal. Your performance is completing those daily tasks, that you say you are going to do, so that you get to where you want to be. It’s planning your food every day, knowing how many calories you should be eating at every meal and hitting them, tracking your calories to ensure that you don’t go over your allowance, resisting the snack table at work, drinking plenty of water, saying ‘no’ when someone offers you a piece of cake, it’s completing your exercise plan. It’s planning around your social life. It’s being realistic and accepting that you will have to make some sacrifices, and actually make them!
If your goal is a physical goal, relating to a specific event, your performance is making sure you do every training session as planned, when planned, and put 100% effort into each session, no jibbing and no half-hearted training sessions.
How committed are you right now to achieving your goal? How many commitment coins are you investing in your goal? Are you putting in your best performance? Does your performance reflect the true value of your goal?
Show your commitment
If you are truly committed to your goal, show how much value you place on it, and invest some commitment coins. Get a realistic plan, ask for some help if you need it, stop playing at trying to achieve your goal and get on with achieving it!