I were to ask you what your priorities are, would you have a clear answer? Further, if I were to ask you what you were currently doing to devote time and energy towards those priorities, would you have another clear answer? Are you fully committed to those priorities?
Commitment is an interesting concept and a word that can bring up sheer terror and defenses in people. What is it about the word commitment that is so scary?
The choice to commit to something happens on many different levels. For example, every six months, I sit down and make decisions on the goals that I am going to work on for the next six months. Sometimes they are a continuation from the prior months and sometimes they are new goals and priorities, depending on what is happening in my life at that time. I typically keep my goals to a list of five. Any more than five goals and I feel as though they are watered down. I want real, tangible results. I make a commitment and I set an intention to follow through with those goals.
These commitments are made at a high level. They are more conceptual at this point. What I choose to do beyond this point is truly still up in the air. To be successful in achieving our goals, we need to commit to them each and every day in our actions. It all comes down to choices. It’s that simple. Although saying something is simple, doesn’t always mean it’s easy.
Commitment takes discipline, which is something that doesn’t always seem to exist at this time in human history. We all seem to want immediate gratification and quick results. We aren’t always willing to put in the time required to achieve the results we desire.
The choice to commit to something happens in the little moments. It’s the choice we make to stay home and study for an exam when our friends have asked us out. It’s the choice to spend the time shopping for and preparing healthy food instead of going through drive thru for a quick and easy meal. It’s the choice to avoid the sale at our favourite clothing store so that we build a nest egg for a down payment on a home.
These are not always easy decisions. But in a split second, you are deciding whether to commit further to your goals, or to let them slide away. The results of your actions and decisions will affect how far and how fast you achieve your goals
Every time you make a decision in favour of what you say is most important to you, you build your self-esteem and confidence. Breaking commitments to ourselves is one of the quickest ways to erode the self-confidence we have in ourselves. We are essentially letting ourselves down. You may feel good in the moment you decide to have a few drinks with friends one evening, but are likely not going to feel so good about yourself when you are working out the next day at the gym, knowing you broke a commitment to be as healthy as possible.
I keep my list of five goals close by me at all times. It keeps me on track with the decisions I make on how I spend time and money. If I find myself indecisive regarding an opportunity, I look at my list to determine how this opportunity fits into my goals. For example, this year a friend reminded me of a personal development course that I’ve been thinking of taking that costs approximately $1,500. I looked at my list of goals and "courses and education" wasn't on that list and my goal of “travel with people I love” would benefit from those funds. It made my decision really easy and I was able to take two vacations this year.
What we say are our priorities and what they actually are is quite easy to measure. Our priorities typically take up two resources....time and money. If you want to see what your priorities are, look at your bank account at how you are earning and spending your money, and look at your calendar to see where you are spending your time. Those two areas will give you a clear indication of how committed you truly are, and perhaps where you can course correct to get yourself back on track. If you have strayed off the path of your goals, don’t beat yourself up for not doing better, instead, choose to make different decisions moving forward. We are always learning and evolving.
Being committed to something is very much about the relationship you have with yourself. Do you value yourself and your priorities enough to say ‘no’ to distractions? Be honest with yourself, even if you are not yet ready to be honest with anyone else. You are the one who benefits from true honesty that comes from self-reflection.
Some of the qualities reflected in people who have achieved great success in their lives are discipline, tenacity and resiliency. Staying committed to their goals even when they don’t feel like it; when the initial glamour and appeal of the goals has worn off. Commitment isn't confining and restrictive, in fact, it is quite liberating. Within life there exists great freedom, if we look at our commitments as choices - choices that move us towards our greatest desires.