Goal setting is something that nearly every successful person considers a MUST DO. I suspect there will be very little disagreement from most on that point.
But, have you ever noticed that, in the course of carrying out the work to achieve those goals, your focus and commitment to them can become blurry and sometimes even lost for good? I’ve certainly experienced this both personally and also see it happen regularly in my coaching work with health care entrepreneurs. Why is this and what can you do to change it?
I was recently listening to a podcast interview with serial entrepreneur, John Assaraf, that really slammed home for me the answer to this commitment question. During the conversation he asked the audience, “are you interested or are you committed to achieving your goals and dreams?” That got me wondering, what exactly does it mean to be committed to something?
I Googled commitment and found the first definition to be what we all know, but Google’s second definition of commitment is what caught my attention. It reads, “an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action”. Now that makes me bristle a bit. What about you? In committing to something, do you really want to feel as if you’re giving up the opportunity to freely choose your action steps? Seems kind of counterintuitive, doesn’t it?
The fact is, you’ve probably been told regularly that successfully achieving your goals requires you to freely think, create and act outside the box. To paint a world of your own design. To ignore social convention. Right? But, consider this for a moment; Author Peter Drucker wrote, “unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans.” This says to me that making true commitment significantly narrows down the actions that can, and should be taken to achieve your goal. The plan is exactly that… a restricted set of actions derived from commitment without which, your goal is much more likely to remain just out of reach.
Here are 3 ways that will boost your commitment to fulfilling a goal:
1. Be a follower
In many cases, achieving success in life can be much like walking a well-worn path through the woods. Interest in a certain goal will often reveal the trail ahead of the pathway created by others who’ve gone before you. Beginning the journey is an exciting prospect and getting started in the footsteps of others toward your goal is really pretty easy.
But be warned, enthusiasm often wanes after some time. The novelty of the trail to your goal wears off and following the path begins to feel more confining than invigorating. You long for the exhilaration of being free to make your own choices again. The temptation to leave the boredom of the path looms large.
It is here that you must surrender to the guidance of mentors. Be a follower. Give up the freedom you have to go trail blazing and become a willing student of those that marked the path before you. Follow them ALL THE WAY to the end and your success is near certain!
“I’m no leader; I’m a little humble follower.” – Muhammad Ali
2. Be one hundred percent in
Without commitment, you often will give the path to your goal only a portion of your attention and energy. But, this approach of dabbling in the necessary actions results only in fractured outcomes full of stops, starts and unpredictability.
Develop a laser focus on what you want to achieve. Allow your goal to become one of your predominant daily thoughts. Be okay with the restrictions of choices and actions that result from such singular concentration. Give 100% of your mental and physical energy to the actions required to achieve your goal, even when you don’t want to.
3. Be willing to change
Following the path of others and giving 100% effort to achieving the success you seek is going to require change. Realize that previous thoughts and beliefs may slow or even oppose your goal. To stay on the path and not waste the energy you’ve devoted, you will likely have to restrict or eliminate them entirely. This might be uncomfortable, or even downright painful. But, it is so vital to goal success!
You may need to change a habit like creating a new morning routine, eliminating a vice (like alcohol or web surfing) or going to bed at a different time. You may have to change how you budget time. You may have to change the people you spend time with. Yes, this might even include cutting people out of your life that don’t align with the success journey you’ve chosen.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – E. M. Forster
Achieving a goal requires much more than just setting it and leaving it. You have to commit! And that often doesn’t come naturally. Leverage these commitment strategies of dedication and restricted actions to move beyond just being interested in your success to living it!