In January’s newsletter, I briefly summarized the 10 Joy of Getting Things Done Tools that can help you succeed with your goals, such as New Year’s Resolutions. This month I will go into detail about Tool #5, Make it a Commitment.
What is a commitment? It’s something that you plan 100% to follow through on, that you’ll do despite adversity and hard times. You make a commitment when you sign that mortgage agreement or when you have a child. During your wedding vows, you say “I will,” not “I’ll try.”
Abraham Lincoln said it best: “Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than the words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time after time after time, year after year after year. Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.”
When you want to make it a change, it takes a commitment. It’s something that you’ll do even when the going gets tough. If everything doesn’t go as planned, you’ll stop, take stock, regroup, and forge ahead. If you know ahead that things might go awry, you create a contingency plan. But if you’ve really made a commitment, you’re going to find a way to follow through.
Having supportive friends, and telling them your plan can really help you keep your commitment. Traditionally, the reason that weddings are attended by friends and family is so that they can both witness the commitment the couple is making, and support them when the going gets rough, as it inevitably does even in the best of marriages.
Similarly when you make a commitment to change, have it witnessed by a group or by at least one supportive person. When the going gets rough, that person or group can help you see it through. Create or join a support group, or hire a professional like a personal trainer or a life coach.
One thing to remember, when you make your commitment, make it specific. Make it realistic, and decide exactly what you are going to do, how much you are going to do, when you are going to do it, and how your support people will know. Specific, measurable commitments are the most effective. And you don’t have to start with something big; it is far better to commit to something, no matter how small, that you know you will absolutely do. Better to commit to walking for 5 minutes and actually doing it than committing to walking for 5 miles and never getting out the door.