The New Year is fast approaching and here it comes again: New Year’s resolution time. Have you ever made New Year’s resolutions you didn’t keep? My experience is that all of us have had good intentions we didn’t follow through on over the years. We usually start out enthusiastic about the change but after a while our enthusiasm falls by the wayside. Why is that?
My friend Art Turock taught me that the problem stems from confusion between interest and commitment. For example, when interested walkers and joggers wake up and find it raining outside, they lie back down and think to themselves, “I’ll exercise tomorrow.” However, when committed exercisers wake up and find it’s raining, they get out of bed and think to themselves, “I’ll exercise inside today!” In other words:
They keep their commitment to their commitment.
So, let’s get real. What have you been wanting to do for a long time but just haven’t been able to get done? Maybe it has to do with your health and fitness. Or maybe it’s learning a new language, or getting organized, or cleaning out your garage. Whatever it is, that’s great. You’ve got your commitment. Now, how are you going to keep your commitment to your commitment?
First, don’t go it alone. The heroic legend of the lone wolf who succeeds at lofty goals through willpower alone is strong with many people. This “John Wayne myth” isn’t dead—it’s just not effective. I should know. For years I could not keep my commitment to good health and wellness. I needed help.
That help eventually came from Tim Kearin, the health and fitness coach who had been patient with me for many years. Each year Tim listened to me announce my New Year’s resolution to improve my health and fitness—and each year he watched me not keep my commitment. Year after year we went through the same routine: Tim would receive a call from me early in the year to begin a fitness program. I would get underway with enthusiasm, but after a month or so I would gradually become too busy to keep my commitment to my commitment. The process would start again at the beginning of the following year.
The way I broke this ineffective cycle—and the way you can, too—was to follow the six principles outlined in Fit at Last, the book Tim and I wrote to document my fitness journey:
- Have Compelling Reasons and a Purpose
- Establish a Mutual Commitment to Success
- Apply SLII® (in other words, get the coaching and support that matches your development level)
- Develop Age-Appropriate Goals
- Set Up a Support System to Hold You Accountable
- Have Measurable Milestones to Stay Motivated
While these six principles were developed to accompany a fitness program, they can be adapted to any kind of goal accomplishment. I’m happy to say that by applying these six principles, I’ve managed to maintain my health and fitness goals for the past five years.
You, too, can keep your commitment to your commitment. Just don’t be a lone wolf. Set yourself up to succeed by finding the coaching and support you need.