How to stay committed
How does one even commit to a project or a long-term goal? Here are some tips:
Breakdown big goal into easily achievable smaller goals.
How do you eat a big chocolate elephant? Break it down into bite-sized pieces. The same goes for your goals. Doing this will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed. For example, your goal may be to start a thriving company. The first mini-goal might be to incorporate the company. The next mini-goal might then be to get your first paying client. Or for weight loss, it might be joining a gym, then losing the first 2lbs.
Work on the goal small but often
In our over-committed and busy society, it seems rare that we have big chunks of time available. So with that said, it’s better to do a little bit every day - and that principle can apply to several things including meditation, prayer, exercise, writing, reading, etc.
Celebrate small achievements regularly.
Did you lose those 2lbs? Celebrate! Incorporated that company? Celebrate! Research by Harvard Business School found that based on the diary entries of nearly 12,000 diary entries from 238 employees of seven companies found that the tracking of small achievements every day improved the workers’ motivation. However, make sure your celebration is done in a healthy way and in a way that does not jeopardise your current goals.
Get an accountability partner and make ongoing appointments with them.
A study by American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) found that you have a 95% chance of reaching your goal when you have an accountability partner who you make regular commitment appointments with. We are social creatures, and for most of us, losing face makes us feel bad. Most of my clients have found that they tended to break commitments much less to others, than themselves alone. So your best bet is to hire a coach. Most successful high performing people have coaches for a good reason; we are limited by our perspectives and own beliefs, and occasionally, we need someone to keep us on track and to challenge us.
Having an accountability partner may not be enough for some. While this can work, there may be blockages, limiting beliefs or just frankly odd behaviour that your brain seems to engage in which sabotages your efforts - in which case, a good life coach should be able to help you break these beliefs or behaviours to help you move forward.
Step back and reflect at the bigger picture and trend.
As the famous Harry Potter author, J. K. Rowling said, ‘Some failure in life is inevitable, unless of course, you live so cautiously, in which case, you fail by default.’ Sometimes there will be bad days. Some days you will feel like giving up. Just like stock markets go up and down, so can our progress towards goals. However, don’t lose heart. You may have gained 2lbs this week, but overall you may have still made progress and lost say 10lbs. So stop to reflect on the bigger progress you’ve made.
While it’s good to have standards, perfectionism is often the enemy of progress I have found. Focus on getting to a “good enough” point. Keep in mind the Law of Diminishing Returns ie. most output is done in less time, the final touches (which have the least returns) often take the most time.
One African proverb is “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.
Us men at least try to do many things alone. However, I believe we’re now reaching a stage where we’re starting to realise we need help, whether it’s with parenting, mental health, fitness, diet or our goals.
While we think we can do anything, we can’t do everything.
As the famous Zelda proverb goes: “It’s dangerous to go alone!”. Amen.
About the Author
BSc (Hons), Dip. Coach (Accred), NLP Master Coach, MAC
Nick Hatter is an Accredited Life Coach and Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Coach, and is certified in Positive Psychology Resilience Skills. He is an expert on well-being and is one of London's leading career and life coaches.
He has featured on BBC, Channel 4, Forbes, Metro, AskMen, HuffPost and more.