“There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” Ken Blanchard
Think about a goal in which you would like to raise your commitment. Commitment prepares you and provides the staying power when great intentions go awry. It is the hunger or stickability factor crucial to reach your goals. Recently I headed to the park to get my fitness on. Pulling into a parking space that distressed ‘dead car’ feeling hit. When life happens, commitment tends to wane… but does it have to?
After calling AAA my mind was racing: where to tow to, how expensive, blah.. blah.. blah. I could have blown off exercise with an excuse, but was driven to my commitment.
Pause – Get in a place of trust – Ask ‘what CAN I do’?
So I worked a portion of the trail until help arrived. While I have worked quite a bit on commitment with business and life coaching clients, I have increased the hunger for my goals since absorbing the helpful book Commit to Win- How to Harness the Four Elements of Commitment to Reach Your Goals by Heidi Reeder, PhD. Here is a bit of what I learned along with excerpts from the book:
“Commitment refers to the degree to which you join and stay, versus the degree to which you separate and go. It’s about whether you are looking for ways to make that job, relationship, or activity more meaningful and central to your life or whether you are trying to break away.”*
Commitment is not a one-time decision. It rises and falls. There are two sides of commitment: dedication (the want to) and constraint (the have to). Commitment is stronger when you have both.
So how can we intentionally create and maintain a high level of commitment?
There are four variables that interact to influence the level of commitment to pretty much anything. Dr. Heidi Reeder developed a formula called The Commitment Equation to best explain it.
The Commitment Equation: (Treasures – Troubles) + Contributions – Choices = Level of Commitment *
Treasures are the benefits:
The positive, rewarding, fulfilling parts of an activity. We experience internal and external rewards. Internal rewards, the feelings you experience inside, have a stronger influence on commitment than external rewards, the material gains.
Troubles are the challenges:
The costly, difficult elements of an activity that you may resist and do not like.
The positives (treasures) interact with the negatives (troubles) to determine your level of satisfaction to the commitment.
“Treasures must outnumber troubles by about five to one to maintain satisfaction and commitment.” *
The most powerful predictor of commitment is satisfaction. However, there are two more elements of the Commitment Equation that impact whether you continue or move on.
Contributions are what you invest:
Time, talent, tenderness (heart connections), and tangibles (money and resources). The more you give, the more dedicated you are. The flip-side is you can increase commitment to something that is not providing positive returns.
“In reality, contribution often precedes commitment. Our actions drive our level of commitment as much as our level of commitment drives our actions.” *
Choices are the degree to which you feel you have additional positive options.
Other choices can distract and prevent you from committing one-hundred percent.
“… focusing too much on the options works against you when you want to keep a commitment strong.” *
So when you consider the Commitment Equation:
“You are most committed when your satisfaction is high (i.e. treasures significantly exceed troubles), your contributions have been significant, and your choices seem limited.” *
To go ‘all in’ on your commitment, follow these steps:
- What are you committed to and why? Get clear on what and why, and keep it in front of you.
- What do you treasure and how can you add to your list of benefits to make it more valuable? Large or small rewards count. Connect the internal emotional rewards.
- What are the troubles and how can you reduce them?
- What are your contributions? What new contributions (time, talent, tenderness, and tangibles) can you make?
- What are your other choices? If you choose to raise commitment to this goal, how will you write off or decrease the value of the other options for now?
Set deadlines, as needed, to complete each section.
Commitment is a psychological connection to your goal that is foundational and an essential element of your success. It provides the staying power to keep you taking action on days when you ‘have to’ instead of ‘want to’. How can you make your commitment a more significant and centralized in your life?
“Commitment is stronger when you focus on treasures and contributions, and pay less attention to troubles and choices.”*
I’m grateful for what I’ve learned from the book ‘Commit to Win- How to Harness the Four Elements of Commitment to Reach Your Goals’ by Heidi Reeder, PhD which includes additional helpful information.
Tony Robbins recently said in an article, **
“When people ask what it takes to succeed, the one answer I give them is ‘hunger’. Hunger is that part of you that says, ‘I will not stop. I will not give up.’” **
Wishing you continued success going “all in” on something that is valuable, worthwhile and important to you. What are your questions, tips, or thoughts on commitment? Share in the comments below or hop over to our Facebook page to discuss.
* Commit to Win- How to Harness the Four Elements of Commitment to Reach Your Goals (Hudson street Press: the Penguin Group 2014) Heidi Reeder, PhD
** Tony Robbins identifies No. 1 trait that makes people successful (MSN: CNBC 1-31-2017) Marguerite Ward