Have you ever struggled to maintain commitment to a certain project or task? Many people start a new “regime”, only to find that it fizzles out over time. Some people would love to start something new, but they talk themselves out of it because they failed before. A great example of this is that New Year’s resolution to go to the gym, or to start a daily practice of mindfulness.
A couple of problems are that we tend to either be very hard on ourselves, or often just give up to easily. Have you ever had a puppy, which weed all over the place? You don’t beat the puppy up, but rather consistently and kindfully help it along until it learns that the carpet is not the toilet. It takes some time in the beginning, until it learns the habit and rule of going to do its business outside. In the same way, you need to learn to be kind to yourself in learning to maintain commitment to your new “practice.”
In previous articles we have spoken about goal setting. That is only one part of the process. In this article, let’s look at how to maintain commitment to the goals you set yourself.
5 Tips to maintain commitment to yourself.
Create a vision of what you want to achieve through your efforts.
What is it that you want to achieve? Example if it is going to the gym, is it because you want to add muscle or lose weight? Now take that image that you have and change it to the positive. Meaning, instead of thinking about losing weight, have a picture in your mind about your ideal size. Imagine what you would look like in your ideal size dress or suit. Imagine the positive outcome of the task accomplished, rather than the effort of achieving it.
When you think of that positive outcome picture you hold in your mind, make it big and bright. Turn up the colors, feelings and sounds that might accompany it. Be very clear and specific in the outcome you want to achieve.
Chunk at the right size
Make sure that the task is chunked appropriately. So if you want to lose 100 pounds, then be realistic in your expectation. It took you time to add the 100 pounds to your weight, so don’t expect to drop it in a few weeks.
Instead, break the task down into smaller bite sized chunks. (Excuse the pun.) So look at having little wins like dropping a 10 pounds, or a dress size. If your goal is to do a 60 minute meditation each day, then you might want to start out with 5 minutes and work your way up over a couple of months. As you reach each mile stone, that will help to reinforce your commitment to yourself and help to keep you motivated.
Prepare yourself for what needs to be done
Will power is very important in staying committed, but understand that will power alone is not enough. You should set yourself a specific time that you are going to do your task each day and stick with it. It is much easier to know that, that specific time is blocked out each day in pursuit of your goal. As an example people often find it easier to do meditation first thing in the morning. Especially if you are prone to falling asleep after a long hard day at work.
If you slip or miss a day, forgive yourself and be kind to yourself. This is no excuse for just being lazy, or just not wanting to do what is needed, but rather to say that life happens and you should not beat yourself up if you slip. Ask yourself “How can I do this differently?” Or, “How can I minimize the chances of this happening again?”
Remember to always have a slight smile on your face. This might feel a little cheesy, but as you practice smiling, you will inevitably feel better.
Believe in yourself
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you are right.”
So what is it that you believe about your success? Doubt and limiting beliefs are harmful to your commitment to achieving your results. Get rid of those limiting beliefs and hold positive beliefs about your abilities.
Ask for support
One of my greatest learning in life has been that it is OK to ask for help. You’ve heard the saying “No man is an island.” There are times when we need the help or input from others. Either that they do something or stop doing something. Example, if your spouse is eating chips at 10 o’clock at night and that is a major temptation for you, then ask them to stop. Ask them to help you in your efforts to being your ideal size.
If you need to gym in the mornings and get the kids to school, then ask your spouse to do the packed lunches or whatever to help you.
Asking for help is OK.
Bonus tip to maintain commitment
As you reach those milestones or mini goals we spoke of earlier, remember to reward yourself. In doing that you build on your confidence and gives you a little motivational boost.
Notice that as you have created a new habit that it becomes more routine and easier to accomplish each day. Building on your success. Competence increases confidence and that in turn assists in doing more of what you are doing and as such builds more competence.
If you have not yet done so, please feel free to do the FREE 7 keys to achieving results mini course.
I hope you found these tips useful. If you ever struggle to maintain commitment to your goals, remember that help is at hand.
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Remember, if you can believe it, you can achieve it.