Being able to keep a commitment is essential to achievement, improving the quality of your life, and empowering you as an influencer.
Yet many people don’t understand the difference between decisions and commitments, and they don’t realize that this difference is why they may fail to meet their goals.
Understanding and being able to use the mechanisms behind commitments can not only help you reach your goals, it can give you great power in positively influencing others as well.
Our destiny is shaped by our decisions. Our decisions are guided by our beliefs. We formulate a belief about something which will then prompt us to make certain decisions based on that belief.
For example, let’s assume that you believe that you are overweight. That belief brings you to a decision that you have to lose weight by doing what most people do to lose weight which is to change your eating habits and exercise.
And so you do that for a few weeks and you may even see some results . But for some reason you slow down and eventually stop.
The result is that you wind up in the same state that you began in, if not worse.
So the question that I ask myself is “Why?” Why do people change their decisions from something that can benefit their lives (such as exercising, or eating better, or stopping smoking, or drinking alcohol) only to go back and do it again?The answer is simple. It’s their belief system.
You see, it’s our beliefs that prompt us to make a decision. It doesn’t matter whether that decision is positive or negative.
The only difference is the belief. So my theory is, the reason why people seem to fall back into bad habits even after they’ve formed positive ones is because their beliefs changed somewhere along the way.
For example, consider a person who decides to quit smoking.
At some point they formed the belief that smoking is bad for them, and that if they kept it up, they would eventually have huge consequences to pay. So they stop. But eventually they start smoking again. The reason this happens is because the belief changes.
That belief could change into millions different things depending on what the original belief was. If the original belief was that there are huge consequences to pay for smoking, maybe the new belief is that those consequences only happen to certain people.
Or maybe it’s that those consequences can be fixed with the help of doctors or medications, or that those consequences take time to develop and by the time things get bad, they’ll have already quit.
Or maybe even it’s that while those consequences are serious, the reward or temporary enjoyment that they get from smoking outweighs those consequences.
Beliefs change, decisions change, and ultimately the results change.
So how do we keep the beliefs from changing? Can we even prevent beliefs from changing?
Much depends on the individual. Moreover, there are many different answers to questions and with each answer comes a new way of doing things.
One surefire way that I can I think of to stay true to a positive decision whether your belief changes or not is through making a commitment.
A true commitment is different than a decision. A decision can be changed but a true commitment cannot. Otherwise, it’s not a commitment!
I think many people have a problem with this.
They “think” they’re making commitments but in reality they’re just making decisions.
Making a commitment to stop smoking means you can never smoke again and are committed to everything that comes with it. Deciding to stop smoking means you can decide to go right back.
The point is, commitments are final and should not be changed (unless they are negative).
Here are 3 steps to quickly and simply set your commitments:
1. Write them down. Until it’s written down, it’s not real. It’s merely a thought that is circulating in your mind from time to time. Once written down however, it becomes to materialize into something of substance and only then can it stand a chance of being followed through on.
2. Next, choose 3 goals that if achieved would ensure that this commitment is being followed through on. Again, you must write them down for the same reasons listed above motioned above. These goals must be S.M.A.R.T. which means specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and timed. This will further ensure that these goals are achieved.
3. Finally, you must form the habits needed to support the attainment of these goals. We all have habits. The key is to form habits that will impact your life positively rather than negatively.
If you can make commitments that are broken down into goals which are driven by habits, you will keep those commitments alive and well. And there is no greater feeling than making a commitment and sticking to it.
One proven way to have a positive influence on other people is to show that you stick to your commitments. When you’re able to do that, you are automatically perceived as someone who has strength, focus, discipline and credibility.