I had resolved, once again, to refrain from buying my favorite cookies. Yet, I continued to give myself permission, “Oh, just once more….” During my next visit to the grocery, I mysteriously found myself back in the cookie section. How could this be happening time and time again? I had come to believe that the popular Lay’s potato chip slogan, “Bet you can’t eat just one”, was an omen and custom tailored for me. Speaking of tailors, my pants – progressively larger sizes – were a harbinger of my failed resolution.
Resolute means determined and unwavering, yet it is frequently inadequate to change an unhealthy habit, accomplish a goal or sustain a desired result. Commitment on the other hand stacks the odds in our favor. Commitment significantly increases the probability of accomplishing a goal and sustaining a desired result. Commitment forms the foundation for transforming old into new habits which generates The Power of Enduring Commitments.
Enduring means continuing or long-lasting. There are several mechanisms which support enduring commitments. In this article, we focus on leveraging measures and milestones in combination with awareness and affirmation. These mechanisms foster the accomplishment of a goal and sustaining a desired result toward ‘What Matters Most’ (to you) COMMITMENTS.
Commitment means dedication to a cause; discipline means a system of behavior. Commitment and discipline combine to produce a laser-like focus on ‘What Matters Most’ to you. Commitment and discipline temper distractions and competing priorities from hindering the accomplishment of goals and sustaining desired results.
Why are measures and milestones so important? Measurement is a means of measuring something; milestones are actions or events marking a significant change. The key is to establish just a few simple measures and milestones, take appropriate actions, and then monitor your progress based on the measures and milestones. Doing so deepens commitment and discipline to ‘What Matters Most’ to you and enhances progress toward and accomplishment of your goals.
Tips for Leveraging Measures and Milestones:
- Keep measures and milestones simple, substantive and sustainable.
- Keep them brief and commit to writing (succinct, easy to recall and communicate to others).
- Keep reviewing commitments to ‘What Matters Most’ as these may change over time.
Why is awareness and affirmation so important? Awareness is knowledge of a situation or fact; to affirm means to offer emotional support or encouragement. Most change initiatives begin and, unfortunately, end with awareness. Awareness of a desire or need to change only makes up about 50% of any change initiative. The remaining and frequently neglected components are acceptance (embracing the desire or need) and action (specific thoughts and behaviors). Awareness + Acceptance + Action = Successful Change. All three are essential to any successful change initiative and enduring commitments.
Regarding affirmation, there is no one more deserving than ourselves. Be deliberate about seeking affirmations from others, too, which will fuel inspiration, momentum and perseverance. Engage friends, colleagues, co-workers, etc., who will encourage, affirm and celebrate your progress while also challenging and holding you accountable. The later, if necessary, will help steer you back on track to ‘What Matters Most’ to you.
Tips for Awareness and Affirming Progress:
- Maintain constant awareness of and focus on commitments
- Seek progress, not perfection; the latter is a setup for failure
- Affirm your own progress and seek affirmations from others
- Ask yourself these questions; you may be right on track or need to make a few adjustments.
- Am I focused on and directing my time and energy toward ‘What Matters Most’ to me?
- Am I being distracted by other lessor priorities and forfeiting limited time as a result?
- What adjustments to my thoughts (self-talk) and actions (behaviors) may be necessary?
Next week concludes our series on commitment and will include an executive summary of all articles. We also offer more practical tips for the pursuit and accomplishment of ‘What Matters Most’ to you.
We welcome your comments and feedback regarding this article and suggestions for future topics. Simply reply to this post or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org; (512) 415-0748.