Are you Committed? Really, Really, Really Committed???
How do you know if you have truly committed to change? Even positive change is hard for most of us. We say we want to change a behavior routinely. For example, people say they want to lose weight, they say they want to save money, they say they want to save the whales, etc. They say they want to do all of these amazing things, so why don’t they just make the necessary change and do it?
It all starts right between your ears in the gray matter we call a brain. When you don't psychologically commit to a goal or objective --- money, health, or something else--- there is no chance you will make the change. Commitment to change must start in the brain. Without a commitment grounded in “WHY you must make the change”, you are likely not dedicated enough to do the work that will allow you to accomplish your goal. This is when the struggle begins. Behavioral change is tough for human beings. Habits and thought patterns are established over decades of your life. And then you get the idea to suddenly change that behavior in a short period of time. The brain doesn’t work that way for most people.
Depending on your DNA, you may struggle with change more than the next person. Part of truly committing to change starts with realistically acknowledging the struggle based on how well you know yourself. Defining the “WHY” is equally as important. Staying motivated and focused on changing behavior requires you to keep your eye on the end game. If your “WHY” is not stronger than the struggle, then you probably will not succeed with permanent change. Knowing the exact benefits of change to you personally helps you overcome the weak moments of struggle.
Ask yourself, “Why do you need to make the change in the first place?” What exactly is in it for YOU if you succeed? Is the change truly beneficial to you, or are you changing for someone else? Change is even more difficult if you are not personally committed to the outcome. That is why verbally stating you are going to change based on another person’s request is not typically successful. Your personal “WHY” must be defined solely by you. The change you are pursuing may also benefit others within your circle, but it must start with you.
If you can't commit to your own “WHY”, then you're not in it for the long haul. Short-term changes do not last. Let me drive it home with an example: I had lunch with a friend recently. She proceeded to tell me a story from one of her friends. The friend (of my friend) is getting married. We all know most brides look forward to their wedding day and naturally want to look their very best for the big event. Makes total sense!
This “Bride-to-be” is getting married in six months and she has decided she wants to lose some weight for the wedding. She shares this with my friend as they are having lunch. My friend was listening intently to her desire to look her best. The server arrived for their order and the “Bride-to-be” places her order first --- a cheeseburger and fried onion rings. My friend was extremely perplexed as the “Bride-to-be” continued to discuss her commitment to losing weight before the wedding!
My friend felt really awkward as she witnessed the food choices from her friend as she proclaimed her commitment to this 6-month goal. Clearly, the “Bride-to-be” was not psychologically committed to the necessary change based on her choices. We witness this phenomenon often because people tend to verbally express a desire for change without actually committing to the steps required to achieve the goal. Many times, their words do not match their actions. Action can be planned or unplanned, but it must be embedded in the commitment and the “WHY” they want to make the change. In order to be successful in changing your behavior, you must acknowledge the challenge of the specific change on a personal level.
Speaking words does not require follow-through, nor the actionable behavior that is required to change. Unless you say it because you mean it, you can create another hurdle for yourself subconsciously. You are allowing yourself to make claims with no real intention of investing the necessary work to achieve results. I know individuals who have made the same verbal claims regarding change for years, and yet, they have made no move to really implement change in their life. (Hello New Year’s Resolutions!) Every time they do this it makes it easier to not follow through the next time. This is really nothing more than head games designed to make them feel better for a short time.
“No action” means “no commitment”. In regards to the “Bride-to-be” referenced above, I would have encouraged her to think beyond the wedding event and to focus on her overall health objectives for her quality of life. She is starting a brand-new chapter in her life. What a tremendous opportunity to focus on achieving long-term optimum health with the benefit of improved physical appearance! Her focus on 6-months set her up for failure because she was only interested in short-term gains, even in her verbal statement.
If you're not going to commit to genuine change for the right reasons, then just don’t say you are! Be honest with yourself. I challenge you today to decide on one thing (and one thing only) you truly want to change in your life. It can be related to health, wealth or any other behavior. Consider what is preventing you from achieving your life strategy objectives. The first question you must ask yourself is, “Can you commit to the required permanent change to achieve your end objective? Is your “why you must make the change” clearly defined with all of the direct benefits to you? If the answer is ‘yes’ then you have made the first step towards change!
I want you to get up each morning and say out loud “I’M COMMITTED”. I want you to go to bed at night and reaffirm that you're committed (say this out loud, I AM COMMITTED)! This should be the last thing you say before going to sleep each night. Also, scotch tape your “WHY” to mirrors, your refrigerator, coffee machine and other visible locations for constant reinforcement. Take a photo of it for your cell phone wallpaper and set daily reminders to pop up in your phone with your “WHY” clearly defined. Stay focused. If you commit to all these things, you are on your way to permanent change!
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