Don’t make resolutions without an action plan.J. Allen Shaw
The secret to success is right in your hands.
The secret to reaching your goals is fairly simply: it is actually committing to keep your firm decision to do or not do something and staying determined in that decision.
But often, no matter how hard you try, the goals you set don’t seem achievable. And all that effort, motivation, and energy seems wasted. You’re not as excited anymore and feel it weighing you down.
According to research, roughly 70% of the people who set goals fail to achieve them. This is both comforting but also frustrating. It’s comforting to know you’re not alone, but frustrating because your goal still hasn’t been reached!
However, there’s a way to move past this and actually achieve your goals. Just like you learn any new skill, you must learn commitment.
Its definition is the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. And you can always improve your state or quality of being dedicated to your goals, resolutions, and dreams. You can accomplish everything you set your mind to if you learn and master commitment.
The secret to success is right in your hands.
I was in training for a communications course a few weeks ago, and one of my biggest takeaways was: the more you express [an emotion], the more habitual it becomes. I venture to say the same goes for character qualities. The more you express, or practice, commitment, the more habitual it becomes.
In the rest of this post, I want to share some steps to help you master commitment to achieve your goals.
STEPS TO COMMITMENT:
Step 1: Create Action Based Triggers
How often have you set your mind to work on something, only to push it aside for later? The first step is to stop relying on your emotions and to push past the mental discomfort to learn.
When lady Lazy waltzes into the room and invites you to sit on the couch, sleep in, eat that candy, or cross out today’s date to save it for tomorrow, you can create an action-based trigger to remind you about your commitment.
For example, when I get tempted to eat something with a lot of sugar or gluten, I think about the consequence. I remind myself of the pain I experienced last time and then look for an alternative, like drinking water or eating an apple.
The trigger starts in my mind with a thought that remembers what happened last time. Looking for an alternative becomes my action, which helps me practice commitment to my health goals and overall wellbeing. I might not want to eat an apple, but this action-based trigger helps me learn and actualize commitment to my health goals and preferred lifestyle.
Our initial inspiration is very momentary, so we also need to learn commitment to counter pushing things aside for later. Don’t chisel away your motivation by relying on your emotions and momentary pleasure. Take the high road and practice commitment! Set yourself up with action-based triggers to help remind you.
You need to realize that you are already in control. Most people let their emotions lead them and end up beating themselves up later for not getting closer to their goals. But God gave you your mind to help you conquer the desire to give in to temporary pleasure.
Your mind needs to be the thermostat for your emotions, as I heard my cousin say. So, before you settle into your emotion and convince yourself that “later” will happen, find an action-based trigger and challenge yourself to act quicker than you feel.
Step 2: Create Future Self Motivation
Envision your future and ask yourself these questions:
- What do you want to do
- Who do you want to be
- Where do you want to be
Answer these questions for these specific timeframes:
- 3 months
- 1 year
- 3 years
Write the actual dates down and then, from the perspective of yourself at that time from now, ask yourself, what would I do today? What would your future self do today?
I learned this from one of my favorite authors, Benjamin Hardy. If you want to accomplish your goals and live your dreams, do what your future-self would do today.
Of course, it’s important to stay present in the present. But with future self motivation, you actualize being where you want to be instead of constantly wishing for it and dreaming about it. Wishing and dreaming are perfectly normal, but it doesn’t always help you get closer to your goals. It’s only helpful for your initial inspiration.
But you need to see yourself on the other side of your accomplished goals.
Part of learning commitment is believing and seeing yourself doing it in the future, and doing it now. As much as you can. Do what you need to do as your future self. This helps you stay committed to your end-goals.
Step 3: Train Your Monkeys
Finally, you know the three wise monkeys, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil?”
There are various meanings and concepts attributed to them, but in terms of achieving your goals, they can help you master commitment and achieve your goals. Let’s break it down:
See: Write it all out.
When you see your goals, outcomes, and progress on paper, your internal drive gets spinning. You get motivated to make it happen. That feeling of inspiration wells up and encourages you to take action. Benjamin Hardy shared 5 journal prompts which will help you train this monkey.
- Where am I now?
- What are my wins from the last 30 days?
- What are my wins for the next 30 days?
- What are my goals for the next 12 months?
- What are my goals for the next 3 years?
Use these 5 journal prompts at the beginning of every month or as often as you need to. It could be at the start of a new notebook or a new week. Spend 5 minutes in the morning to sit and review your goals. Then 5 more minutes to write about what needs to happen today. That’s it! You can title it 5x5x5 to help you stay consistent.
These will help you see your goals and progress and, ultimately, help you master commitment.
Hear: Share your goals with a friend/accountability partner.
When you let another person hear your goals, you increase your confidence and get energized to achieve. And, after hearing yourself, you get more clarity for yourself now and for the future. The more you talk about it, the clearer things get. You adjust and learn about what you actually want.
If you keep everything inside and don’t let others or yourself hear your plans, you’ll only get frustrated, stuck, and possibly stagnant. It’s not about announcing it to the world, but about hearing yourself out to get clarity and motivation.
Just find one or two people you trust and share your dreams and aspirations. And in return, be this person for someone as well. You need people in your corner, and people need you in theirs. Your opinions, ideas, and perspectives are valuable and vital for others and yourself.
Speak: Pay attention to the way you speak.
Do you bash on yourself for having dreams and big goals? Do you speak negatively towards yourself and possibly others? Do you get insecure and doubt yourself? What does your inner critic sound like?
Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).
What we say often stems from what we think, which comes from what we believe. You need to change your beliefs/values and renew your thoughts to enhance your speech. As you clean up your thought life, your speech towards yourself, others, and your goals will transform. This results in confidence, integrity, and honesty.
The more you express [certain words and emotions], the more habitual it becomes.
One way to help with this is to memorize scripture or speak daily affirmations. Your speech can bring life or death. The more you practice speaking life, the more of it you’ll bring. The more life, positivity, gratitude, and encouragement you speak, the more habitual it becomes, and the more of it you’ll reap.
Practice, learn, and master commitment.
Don’t put off your goals yet again, because the secret to achieving your goals is to learn commitment.
It’s part of the plan to take actions!
When you fully commit, you will reach your goals quicker than you think.
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