Following my recent post, Lessons from the Wall: Part 1, you'll have explored some of your motivations for making a change, setting up a new habit or goal in life. Now for the next step…
Making a Decision and Firm Commitment
Once you know you why you want to do something, the next step is to make a decision and commit totally to it. By exploring my motivations, I knew that climbing would be a great solution for me as it was;
a) a way to continue building my relationship with Adam,
b) it was fun and involved skill and finally,
c) it would motivate me further enable and motivate me to sculpt my body.
On this basis I was able to decide to commit to becoming a climber.
How to make that commitment a firm one?
How many times have you found yourself starting something new, being fired up with enthusiasm, only to realise several months down the line that you've barely done it at all? This is very common to most people, and I include myself in that generalisation! So how do you make sure that your new plan is not just a flash in the pan?
Create a habit
I recently had a very enlightening conversation with my very good friend and inspiring Career Coach,Jana Schuberth. Jana lost 10kg/22lbs in a year by making a commitment to a gruelling exercise regime 6 days a week, every week, whatever the weather, however little sleep she'd had, whatever her mood. When I asked her about how she had the motivation to workout like this every single day, she replied simply: she didn't want to have to make the decision every day, so she just turned it into a habit. It became something she did and part of her identity. If you're interested to read about Jana's experience, she has very openly blogged about it.
So, is it as simple as that? Just do it every day? This is definitely one very good way of making a firm commitment, and is certainly something that has worked for several of my coaching clients. On the other hand, going climbing 6 days a week would have set me back a small fortune; after all, I can't do it at home and I'm also not quite good enough to go outdoor climbing, nor do I have a rockface to climb on my doorstep – that's an hour's commute away. It's also a good idea to vary what exercise you do and I still very much enjoy yoga and running. Are these all excuses? They may be. What's really clear for me is that I didn't want to make a 6 day commitment to climbing.
Adam and I agreed on a 2 night a week commitment. We go every Monday and every Friday after work for 2 hours, unless I'm in London. That is just how the week is programmed now. Monday evening = climbing. Friday evening = climbing. I've now even joined a London climbing centre in order to be able to also do it while there.
Create Push Factors
How else can you firm your commitment? What's going to push you do fulfil on your agreement to yourself when you're feeling lazy, in a bad mood, apathetic, or would rather do something else? Sometimes the pull factor of great health, an amazing body, great energy or simply success is not enough. Sometimes what you need is an additional push factor. For me this was three fold:
1) A financial commitment: I bought expensive climbing shoes, a harness, a chalk bag. If I spent this money and then didn't make the most out of the new gear it would be a total waste. Anyone who knows me will know how much I loath waste of any sort.
2) A promise made to someone important: An additional push factor was that I really didn't want to let Adam down. A few months ago I had several back to back trips to London which resulted in me missing many successive Monday/Friday evenings. I could tell how much this was disappointing Adam, even though he didn't make a big deal out of it. This really spurred me on to manage my timetable more effectively and be there as often as possible!
3) Pride: Pride can be destructive, but sometimes it can also serve us. I announced what I was doing to the world (or at least on Facebook and to my friends and family) and it would have just been too embarrassing for me not to get better at climbing through lack of commitment.
These have been three very powerful push factors for me. And the results? I'm really improving in my climbing ability, I also feel extremely proud of myself and continue to feel motivated to keep going and keep improving.
There is a real parallel here with the way that coaching works: My clients make a commitment to me and themselves that we will meet at the same time every two weeks. This becomes a fact of their lives for the six month duration of our work together. They commit to making sure that they are present at each coaching session and they work hard to fulfil the desired outcomes agreed at the end of each session. Why? Because they don't want to disappoint me nor do they want to waste the money that they invested. The fact that they want to lose weight/gain more energy/feel younger/deal with IBS/etc. is always the starting point, yet it's most often this firm commitment of time, money and accountability which sets the foundations to propel them forward to achievement and out of that "I should do something about my diet and life style" mindset. Once my coaching clients see results, just like I have with my climbing, this creates a new and powerful momentum to keep them going.
Making it work for you
Can you see some parallels in your own life where you've made a decision and firm commitment to achieving a goal and succeeded? Can you identify times in your life when you've failed because of lack of commitment? How are you going to commit to your current goals? Post below to share or email me using the mail icon to the right.