Monday, November 14, 2016

Movement Monday: How to Make a Commitment to Yourself

Welcome to Movement Monday!  This started as an email I sent weekly to my customers and clients designed to motivate continued action to achieve a desired goal throughout the week.  My mission is to provide the "want to" when it comes to reaching YOUR goal because the "how to" is different for every body and every goal.  When you are constantly seeking the truth, you will find exactly what you need.  Each email contains a subject, practical suggestions or encouragement surrounding the subject and powerful quotes that support the weekly theme.  After a big shift in my life, I am motivated to share my email with everyone!  My email subscribers will still receive an abridged version with a link to the full details here.

Many people believe they know what they want.  They have a desire for the short term -- lose weight, have more energy, make more money, get out of debt, have more fun and the list goes on.  Deciding what you want is the easy part.  Having the desire to improve a part of our lives is the easy part.  Making the commitment to get it done is a completely different story.

"Intent reveals desire; action reveals commitment." -- Dr. Steve Maraboli

This is post is a continuation from last week, so if you haven't checked it out yet, I encourage you to get the details right here so you are not lost.

So why are we afraid to make commitments to ourselves?  After all the results directly affects our own lives.  It would seem that making commitments to oneself would be simple.  Yet, people waiver when it comes to committing to the process of self improvement.

"Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality." -- Abraham Lincoln

So let's talk about how to make and keep commitments period.  I will encourage you to use this to help you with an item you've been wavering on.

1 - Name your fear.
As previously mentioned, most failure to commit to related to fear.  Fear of missing out, fear of losing options, fear of losing your freedom, fear of failure.  So I will first encourage you to ask yourself: what exactly are you afraid of?  What will you be missing out on?  Could it be that your chosen coarse of action to get you to your goal is simply not for you?  What exactly do you fear losing?  Does the reward of reaching your goal trump what you may be leaving behind? Do you fear being trapped and restricted?  Do you not realize that reaching your goal gives you more options which is more freedom?Do you fear not reaching your goal and simply feel safer if you don't even try?  Long term, can you really be happy with that?  Lastly, as mentioned last week, many people have a simple fear of the unknown due to the amygdala.  Luckily there is a portion of the brain that counterbalances the amygdala called the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The PFC lights up when you imagine greatness for yourself in the future.  Your brain grows strong in the area that is used the most.  Unfortunately, while the amygdala seems to strengthen without really thinking about it, we have to intentionally choose to strengthen the PFC.  A great way to do this is daily affirmations.

"Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but because of lack of commitment." -- Vince Lombardi

2 - Decide to be more decisive  

Indecisiveness becomes a habit over time. Whenever we make a decision about anything, we are committing to it - at least for the time being. If commitment to any decision has been a problem for you, then start practicing being more decisive in lots of small ways.  Realize that indecisiveness is also a decision.  Something will happen whether you actively choose it or not.  A great decision is usually made with less-than-perfect information, along with your brain and your gut. Take time to look at an issue from different angles and then trust yourself to act.

3 - Create a strong desire
In order to fully commit to anything, you need a clear and personally compelling reason.  Without a strong desire, you will struggle when the work gets tough.  Make sure you fully understand what it is you want and most importantly why you want it.  Attempting a life change for someone else will never work.  I've seen it time and time again.  People desiring to lose weight to make their significant other happy.  Someone else's suggestions or comments will never create a strong enough desire to get you through the challenging work of change.

"There is a difference between interest and commitment.  When you're interested in doing something, you only do it when it's convenient.  When you're committed to doing something, you accept no excuses; only results." -- Kenneth Blanchard 

4 - Identify the key actions
It is important to understand which core actions will produce the result you are after.  In most endeavors there are often many activities that help you accomplish your goal.  However there are usually a few key activities that account for a majority of the results.  It is important to identify these activities, because after all, our ultimate goal is to get results.

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” -- Margaret Thatcher

5 - Count the costs
It's true.  Commitments require sacrifice, but in all that effort, there are also benefits and rewards.  Too often we fail to identify the true cost of reaching our goal and this make it difficult to keep our commitments.  Costs to consider include time, money, risk, uncertainty, loss of comfort, and so on.  Identifying the costs before you commit allows you to consciously choose whether you are willing to pay the price of your commitment.  When and if you face any of these anticipated costs, it is helpful to recognize that you foresaw them and previously decided that reaching your goal was worth it.

We are digging deep and working through these steps in my current online health and fitness accountability group.  You can definitely go through it alone, but having the support of a group of people and a coach makes it less scary and more fun!  I will always encourage you to join us at anytime because it's better to start now, than not at all.  Make that commitment to yourself!

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