Years ago, I finally got fed up with myself.
I was sick and tired of making commitments and not following through with them.
I’m not sure exactly when the change occurred, but when I look back it seemed to happen overnight.
“I went to sleep late but I woke up early, kissed the game goodbye baby goodnight Shirley.” —JellyRoll
Fast forward and here I am now: an absolute champion when it comes to committing to goals.
Let me tell you my five secrets…
#1 – Start Small
The keyword here is small. Not weak.
There’s great strength and maturity in small.
Start small with the intention of building up to a greater goal.
Example: 50 push-ups a day
A weak goal would be to start with two per day and then work your way up to 50. Unless the escalation itself is part of your goal, this is too easy to give up on because you’ll feel a false sense of satisfaction after a few days.
A small (and strong) approach would be to start off with 50 push-ups per day and do whatever it takes to get to 50, even if you have to do 25 sets of two throughout the day.
Eventually you’ll be able to do all 50 in a single set.
Start small and build to a greater goal…not with increased numbers, but with increased skill with the same number.
Once you’ve mastered that, then you can increase your numbers. It’s better to lift 20 pounds skillfully than to lift 100 pounds like an amateur. It’s also better to run one mile like a pro than it is to be able to run 10 miles and feel burned out afterwards.
Master small before you build big. This will greatly enhance your confidence and your commitment to your goal.
This will help you avoid injuring yourself and your confidence.
#2 – Practice Committing
The added benefit of starting small is that you also practice commitment. No matter how difficult your goal might be, you always have to consider the immense added difficulty of simply sticking to the goal.
I always recommend going slightly out of your comfort zone, even if it means doing something easy just so you can practice committing a goal.
For example, instead of committing to wake up every morning at 6:00am, commit to just waking up five or 10 minutes earlier every day for a week or a month.
Just like with anything, you become better the more you practice. At any given time I always have at least two goals I’m committed to.
“Commitment does not constrain you…it frees you.” —D/C Russ
You might need to first build the habit of committing to a goal so that you can venture further outside of your comfort zone with a more difficult goal that has a deeper impact on your life.
If you don’t have a history of being able to commit to a goal, then first start with the simple act of commitment itself.
Prove to yourself that you can commit, then set a goal with a clear purpose.
#3 – Get Clear on Your Purpose
You can’t commit to a goal unless you fully understand why you’re setting the goal.
No matter what your goal is, there are several layers of reasoning involved with your intention. The first layer is almost always mentally contrived and ego-based.
You can’t commit to a goal if you’re trying to fuel your ego.
If you want to lose weight to impress other people, you will give up. But if you want to lose weight to improve your self-image, your confidence, and your own self-worth, then you greatly increase the chances that you’ll commit to the goal.
There’s a world famous exercise for determining your deeper reasoning. It’s called Seven Layers Deep and I explain it at the end of this post.
If for some reason, you’re not sure if a goal is going to translate into your deeper purposes, feel free to perform a trial run where you test it out for a set duration of time.
The key to sticking to your goal is to fully understand and fully embrace the many reasons why you need to complete the goal.
I will often rehearse these reasons for days, weeks, or even months before I begin my goal. I want to make damn sure that when it’s showtime, I’m going to show up to the performance with everything I’ve got.
#4 – Become the Goal
When you set a goal and intend to commit to it, you need to own it as a piece of you.
Let the goal become a part of who you are…your identity…your self-worth.
The more you understand why you need to commit to the goal, the more a part of you it becomes.
When a goal becomes highly personal, you’ll feel strong emotions about it. The goal will move beyond your mental body and into your emotional body, thereby deepening its importance to you.
Cherish your goal. Love your goal.
Most importantly, love yourself.
Whatever you do, do NOT attach your identity and self-worth to the performance of your goal.
This is extremely important.
Every worthwhile goal will have its challenges. You should not expect to perform perfectly 100% of the time.
In the event that your performance falls short, you cannot allow this to affect your confidence or self-worth. That will only increase the chances of your failure.
DO attach the goal to your self-worth. DO NOT attach your performance to your self-worth.
For me, this has been instrumental in my ability to commit to goals. When I tell myself that I’m a failure if and only if I give up on my goal, then it pushes me to stick to it even when it’s hard.
Face it, you’re going to have setbacks. This is natural and in fact it’s good because it means you set a good goal. When your performance declines, make sure you go easy on yourself.
Continue to love yourself. Continue to love your goal.
And most importantly…
#5 – Never, Ever Give Up
If you give up, you fail.
Giving up is the only way you can fail.
There is no other way to fail.
I’ve given up and I’ve failed many times. But I cannot think of a single time when I’ve failed as long as I did not give up.
“I am not the smartest or most talented person in the world, but I succeeded because I kept going, and going, and going.” —Sylvester Stallone
Unless you’re prepared to feel like a failure, you absolutely can not ever, never give up. We humans carry our successes and failures with us for the rest of our lives.
The more you succeed, the stronger you become. The more you fail, the more painful your existence becomes.
Your victories and defeats accumulate and store themselves in your body, only to be released in a painful explosion of regret while you’re lying in your final resting place.
When you give up, you lose something far greater than your goal and your confidence…
…you lose perspective…
…you become a weaker person…
…you become a failure…
And when you’re a failure, you can’t help but to fail again and again and again.
So don’t do that to yourself.
Whatever it takes, do not give up. Ever.
A Goal I Did Not Give Up On
Back in early July of last year (almost six months ago), I set a goal that I would produce a book anthology of 15 entrepreneurs who share their journey to financial freedom.
This was surprisingly one of the hardest goals I’ve accomplished.
All of my limiting beliefs came up.
At one point it was so intense that I could almost see my inner demon come out of my body, turn to look at me in the eyes and say, “You are worthless, you’ll never amount to anything. You don’t deserve to complete this goal.”
It was vivid, intense, and terrifying.
But due to my immense practice with stepping outside of my comfort zone, I was easily able to laugh at the intensity of the fear that came up.
I really appreciated the experience. It was pretty powerful.
Nevertheless, my idea finally manifested itself into reality about six months later.
Through endless persistence and commitment, I’m proud to say that I am now able to physically hold my idea in my hands…which feels amazing.
The book is called Winding Road to Freedom: 15 Entrepreneurs Share Their Journey to Financial Freedom and is available in Kindle and Paperback editions.
If you have a goal that revolves around financial and/or lifestyle freedom, I strongly suggest you pick up a copy. The book is a gold mine of wisdom from fifteen successful people who built a life of freedom from scratch.
Remember these five easy steps and you’ll render yourself virtually bulletproof when it comes to any goal you set for yourself.
Start small, practice, get clear on your goal, become your goal, and NEVER give up!
Your friend and comrade,