Commitment: Using the Skill to Crush Your Goals

performance plan Jan 26, 2023
The Secret to Crushing your Goals

In December, I wrote about my High-Performance Model in the blog "High Performers are Constantly Seeking Clarity." I even attached a goal-setting template to help my readers identify what matters most to them and guide them through setting goals for the year. 

I will venture to say that of all the people who read the article, only a small percentage took the time to seek clarity and write down their goals. In fact, studies tell us that while most people claim to understand the importance of clarity and setting goals, only 20% of the population have written goals. 

Now, if you do have written goals, I congratulate you. You are a step ahead of the pack. But unfortunately, 70% of those who set goals fail to achieve them. Simply put, many people don't hit the marks they set for themselves. And I don't mean to sound cynical about it. In fact, there are merits to setting goals and failing them — with each failed goal is a lesson learned.

"A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at." –Bruce Lee

But today, I am writing about the 30% of people who achieve their goals. What they look like, blocks to overcome, and how to start tipping the balance in your favor. Let's get into it. 

The Secret to Achieving Goals

The fact of the matter is you are closer to achieving your goals than you think. At this point, you're probably wondering: what will push me over the hump? 

The answer: Commitment.

The term is almost cliched at this point, but the ins and outs are not. Just like everything in this day and age, commitment can be pinned down to a science. 

The tool of commitment has proved to be a great equalizer for many in their career. Whether they didn't feel they were smart enough, strong enough, connected enough, or valued enough, commitment has helped many people break through to their next levels.

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ― Peter F. Drucker

Mastering Commitment 

I hear a lot of people say that they do have goals and that they are committed to them. Yet the sad reality is that most people set goals and feel highly motivated for a few weeks, and then they falsely assume they're committed. 

As soon as a few obstacles arise or old habits kick in, they lose motivation and start procrastinating. This is because they were never really committed in the first place — they were riding a temporary wave of inspiration. 

Yet the skill of commitment is far more approachable than you might think. While there are no shortcuts to developing and mastering the commitment process, there are strategic ways to build the skill. 

Here are my Do's and Don'ts for commitment.

DO NOT fall prey to your Inner Critic.

That seventy percent number scares a lot of people right off the bat. They wonder, "If everyone else is failing, why should I even bother?" They let their Inner Critic start to creep in, and they begin believing that setting goals is futile. Combatting this takes a lot of courage, but it's not impossible. I guarantee there will be moments in each of your goal journeys where your Inner Critic starts to speak up and tell you just to quit. It comes when times get tough. It comes on days when you don't want to work. It comes when you feel vulnerable, weak, and helpless. When these times come, you have to be prepared to fight back. It takes an enormous amount of courage, but you have to continuously remind yourself that you are strong enough, you are capable enough, and you are powerful enough. Once you bulletproof yourself against your Inner Critic, you will find that you are often the only one getting in your way.

"If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." Vincent Van Gogh

DO make your goals realistic.

Commitment is all about being honest with yourself. When you look in the mirror, there isn't anyone to fool. You must be willing to dig deep and ask yourself: how far am I willing to go? What can I start doing every day? What if I dedicated myself to this goal for a week, month, quarter, or year straight? What would I look like? You are the only one who can answer these questions, and it all starts with being realistic. 

“I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” — Jimmy Dean

DO NOT feel as though your goals are not crazy enough.

Goals often go unmet because people change who they are to set wild, unattainable goals that aren't true to them. They feel that suddenly, they have to become a superhero and win over the world. That's not how goals get met, folks. Starting small is nothing to be ashamed of – it's admirable. Starting small signals to your brain that you really care about taking a step forward and are committed for the long haul. As Shaun Hick says: "If you concentrate on small, manageable steps, you can cross unimaginable distances."

“One part at a time, one day at a time, we can accomplish any goal we set for ourselves.” — Karen Casey

DO be very clear about your strategy to achieve them.

Clarity, motivation, and desire are all necessary first steps…but the key to sustainability and prolonged success boils down to your commitment strategy. This is where you have to get tactical. I am going to read for an extra ____minutes today. I am going to start waking up ___minutes earlier. I am going to reach out to ___new people a week. You won't achieve your goals by simply saying that you want to achieve them. There has to be a level of precision when you set your goals. I know I sound like a broken record, but once again, mastering commitment will be the factor that takes you there. 

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” — Alexander Graham Bell

Ultimately, it's essential to realize that the desire for the outcome and the commitment to do whatever it takes to achieve a goal are entirely different. The former is common, the latter much less. To set yourself apart, you have to be willing to challenge yourself and find a cause worth striving towards. When you're genuinely committed to a goal, you do the work despite not feeling like it. 

  • You work on your dreams even though you'd rather sleep in. 
  • You defy the cold and rain for it. 
  • You break old destructive patterns for it. 
  • And you push through any obstacle that comes your way.

My task for you: find the goal that would push you to do these things, and then do them. Your boundless potential is constrained only by the limits you place on yourself, and the recipe for success calls for a heavy dose of commitment. 

One thing I can promise you: it will be worth it. I have never once regretted the pursuit of a noble goal, even if I ended up failing. The simple act of going after something and altering your actions to achieve it tells you all you need to know about your own capabilities. You can do it. The real question is: what am I willing to do for it?

My support for you: Here is a link to a step-by-step exercise I do every year to help me craft a plan and commit to my goals.

“The level of success you achieve will be in direct proportion to the depth of your commitment.”― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Next week, we will talk about Courage. We’ll need lots of it to move from desire to commitment. If you completed the exercises from today, know that you are way more courageous than most.

Thanks for reading this week's installment of Cultivating Confidence. Go out and crush those goals, my friend. See you next week!

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