We all start a new year, a new job, a new relationship with good intentions – but statistically, few of us ever succeed.
Fewer than 40% of people set goals. And out of that small group of goal-setters, fewer than 8% actually achieve progress.
That means that out of 100 people, only 2-3 will ever do enough of the right things and achieve success.
Quite frankly, staying committed to a goal — despite failure, frustration, and feelings of inadequacy — is a set of skills that few of us ever learn.
And the results are crippling.
No matter what the goal — personal or professional — the thing that’s really lacking is commitment.
Too often, commitment ends up being a phrase that’s uttered in the heat of passion. “Yes, I promise to do that” or “I’m definitely making that change today” or “I’m starting that right now.”
The pattern is unmistakable:
- You hear an idea. You see a new “thing” that sounds awesome, and you’re on it. You want to give it a shot.
- After doing it for a while, maybe you get bored or you don’t give it a chance to work the way it’s supposed to, and you find yourself quickly moving on to the next thing.
You didn’t commit. And so you repeat a frustrating cycle that robs you of your joy and happiness.
How Can You Break the Cycle?
If you’re ready to beat the “commitment curse”, here are 11 ways to get started:
#1: Commit to knowing who you are
How often do you take the time to really question yourself and your motives?
Is it just at the end of each year when you are reevaluating your life? Or do you always follow your gut, walk to the beat of your own drum, and walk away when something stops giving you joy?
It’s important to know you are — and if you don’t, it’s important to figure it out.
So think about it. What kind of person are you? What kind of person do you want to be?
Knowing who you really are can help you follow through with the goals you set for yourself.
#2: Commit to your path
Yes, it is completely possible for your path to change. After all, change is inevitable.
But your path, while you are on it, should be your commitment.
Once you pick your path, you should be all in. One hundred percent. And then don’t stop until you get to the end of your goal.
Whether it’s losing 10 lbs or 100 lbs, you’ve got to stick with it until you get there. And if you need to set small goals like 10 lbs, 10 times until you get to the 100, then do that.
The key is to stay completely focused on your path.
If you are looking for a bit of help with figuring out who you are and the path you want to follow, check out the completely free and wildly comprehensive Lifebook assessment that gives you an accurate report of your wellbeing in 12 key areas of your life.
#3: Commit to your personal relationships
Whether it’s making time for your spouse, your kids, or just taking time to walk your four-legged best friend — committing to your relationships is one of the best ways to develop complete commitment.
It’s easy to get lost in the hustle of business and forget about what truly matters.
It’s understandable that everybody gets busy, but make sure you aren’t so busy that you can’t afford to spend even twenty minutes a day letting your loved ones know you appreciate them.
#4: Commit to your physical health
You’ve made your resolutions. You’ve cut out sugar. You’ve been to the gym at least three times a week. You’ve cut out meat from your diet or added extra meat to your diet, whatever the case.
But slowly you find that you’re losing momentum.
That’s the time to re-commit. Even if you have to commit again every single month this year, just commit — even short-term — for just one more month. Completely!
And then next month you can re-commit again. And again each month after. If you can’t go all in, take the baby steps!
#5: Commit to your mental health
Read that book. Take that class. Go meet a friend. Commit to doing the things that make you laugh, make you happy, and simply make your life better.
And if that doesn’t help, don’t feel bad about seeking professional help. Sometimes positive thinking doesn’t always do the trick. Sometimes you need someone who’s professionally qualified to really help you deal with your issues.
If you aren’t at your best, you can’t give your best to anyone else. So commit to being mentally fit as well as physically.
#6: Commit to your financial health
If your saving habits pale in comparison to your spending habits, it’s time to make a new commitment. Start with a six-month emergency fund. Then work your way up to saving 20% of what you make.
Not sure how to do that? Shop at discount clothing and food surplus stores. Make shopping lists (and stick to them). Save your pennies. Maximize your employer’s retirement (if it’s offered) or build your own retirement plan.
Give yourself a reasonable budget — so you can be generous without going broke.
Whew! Finances are tough, but once you commit to getting them on track, you’ll be glad you did.
#7: Commit to the hunger
There is something to be said about the human spirit — and human behavior — when hunger comes into play.
Commit to your success the same way you commit to finding food when you are famished.
Question everything. Thirst for more knowledge.
You don’t know it all — in your field or in life. So when you can’t figure something out or when you are just plain curious, commit to finding the answer — from an actual human being.
Google is great, but Google won’t introduce you to someone in your field who may be able to teach you something new.
Commit to feeding your hunger for knowledge, new skills, and bettering yourself.
#8: Commit to excellence
Don’t half-step. If you’re going to do it, do it the best you can. Set your expectations high enough to reach them but not so high you continuously let yourself down.
Sure it seems easier said than done, but lots of people are pulling it off. Work hard, risk failure, and most importantly, be consistent. If you slip, get back up and keep going.
Don’t beat yourself up but do commit to excellence in business and in life in general.
#9: Commit to trying new things
So maybe you don’t have to say “YES” when your crazy brother-in-law asks you to go skydiving (unless that’s on your bucket list), but don’t turn down every invitation to step outside of your comfort zone.
Go paint the picture. Sing the song. Go on the date. Eat the sushi. Try the new business plan.
You don’t have to say yes to everything, but committing to saying ‘yes’ more often than ‘no’ will increase your quality of life tenfold.
By the way, trying something new isn’t easy for most people. If you are feeling nervous about trying something new, here’s a trick by pioneering hypnotherapist Marissa Peer, who teaches a quick trick to make it easier.
#10: Commit to boldness
It’s OK to make the first move. It’s OK to ask for what you want. It’s OK to do something unpredictable. It’s OK to take risks. It’s OK to commit to boldness.
Say the things that need to be said. Do the things that need to be done, even if those things are looked upon unfavorably. And do them unapologetically.
If you commit to being passive, the world will pass you by. So stand up, be seen, be heard, be bold.
#11: Commit to changing the world
Whether it’s teaching your children to say “Please” and “Thank You” or teaching a room full of people how to do CPR — commit to doing one thing that will help make the world a better place.
Donate your time. Donate your money. Donate your clothing. Pick up someone else’s trash and throw it away.
You don’t have to start your own soup kitchen, but you could volunteer weekly or monthly at one and help change a life. It may even be your own that changes.
Here is an empowering truth about commitment. It doesn’t have to be something big or audacious.
The dangerous misconception about commitment is that it only involves you making some big, grand gesture.
Follow-through is the key to commitment. So, don’t plan on doing everything on this list. Start small. One at a time. One day at a time. One week at a time.
Do one thing that matters. And keep doing it even after you are bored or discouraged.
Staying committed is about consistency.
Small changes make a big difference.