Change is healthy and necessary, and the fast-paced world in which we live is constantly changing. If we fail to adapt to the changes around us and commit to changes (AKA growth) in ourselves, then we will fail to thrive in life. The paradox that change is the only constant thing in our lives is often noted. It is imperative that we learn to cope with and embrace it. Here are a few ways to help you commit to change.
First things first, define what type of change you want to commit to and put some boundaries on it! If you do not have a clear idea of what you are (and are not) committing to, then it becomes this nebulous growing thing that feels like you never "get there". Be clear and be honest while defining your commitment. Use classic goal setting strategies by defining why you are doing this, how are you going to do this, and what success looks like. You can even use/create goal setting pages in your favourite notebook for this purpose.
Let’s use the example of fitness. If you do not like the condition your body is currently in, you might decide to change it. You must define why are you doing this; be as clear, honest and detailed as you can. Then draft a plan regarding the methods you are going to practice to achieve this, such as improving your eating habits and increasing your physical activity. Last, define your "finish line", so you know when it's time to celebrate!
This will make you aware of what you are actually committing to and prepare yourself for the work ahead.
The second thing to improve commitment to change is to make sure you are not "faking it," by saying you want to change, and talking about it all the time, without participating in the full effort required. Commitment is an obligation that you cannot fulfill if you do not fully engage with it.
Staying with the example of fitness, be sure you are not just “checking the box” if you are just going to the gym to say you went to the gym, but then go for an ice cream to reward yourself after; you will not reach the results you want. To get the best results and to fully embrace the change, you have to commit to a healthy overall lifestyle by going to the gym AND by changing your eating habits. You must completely invest yourself in what the change you seek requires.
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Commitment requires persistence. Especially so when it gets challenging or inconvenient. You cannot bail because you are finding it hard to adapt or if the change is not immediately working out for you. That is not how it is done. Results take time. To acquire great results from the change, you have to practice persistence. Be really clear that you will get there eventually as long as you don't give up. Again, using the example of fitness, some days you will do well and have a great session at the gym; you will all the eat healthy meals and you will feel like a fitness machine. Other days will not go so smoothly, and that's okay. It's about progress not perfection, remember? On tough days, these small "failures" only equate to big failures if you do not persevere and power thought them to try again the next day. You must be persistent to get the results your heart desires.
Motivation is not permanent; it comes and goes. I find staying motivated and inspired requires a little maintenance itself. Go back to your notebook where you defined your commitments. Re-read those reasons and plans that you wrote down while you were defining your commitments when you were powerfully motivated. This will reignite that spark. If your motivations have changed, it's totally okay draft your plan again and add some new reasons to the list.
Committing to change—any change—is significant and can be daunting. Take some time to decide on your next “baby steps” changes with these four tips to get started, and remember that slow and steady wins the race.
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Laura Nurse, BBA, ND
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