Commitment is the indispensable iron quality of character that paves the way for every great accomplishment and it produces a nice addition to our joy in the process.

Fortunately, commitment is not a trait we are born with. Rather it is a virtue that can be tuned in to and then woven into our approach to life. Commitment is the learned ability to persist even after enthusiasm diminishes. It’s the willingness to be flexible, to improvise, to adjust course, to do whatever it takes to deliver what was promised to whomever it was promised. We must have a large supply of commitment to excel as individuals, in our marriages, and in our family life, not to mention the commitment necessary for high achievement in business.

If the fire in our belly stayed as red hot after we established our goals as it did when we were contemplating them – commitment might be optional.

We need commitment!

If our passion and enthusiasm remained as high for our marriage after the wedding day as it did on and before the wedding, we wouldn’t need commitment.

We need commitment!

If raising happy, healthy, and self-confident children were as easy as it looked on a 1970’s sitcom then, just maybe, we could skip the commitment.

We need commitment!

It is precisely because our feelings fluctuate that commitment is critical! As human beings, our feelings are wired to our volatile short-term emotional appetite. This means that if we allow our feelings to drive our decisions, we might feel good in the short-run but not feel so good in the long run and, in the meantime, our effectiveness is likely to be undercut as well. We’ll be playing now but paying later, as opposed to delaying gratification and reaping a much higher return in the future.

Your likelihood of following through on important commitments is strongly influenced by your self-image, or how you tend to see yourself and think of yourself most consistently. This unconscious mechanism is developed over time and primarily through your interactions with others, particularly those closest to you. You tend to behave in a manner consistent with this “inner picture” because that’s exactly what you will feel like doing. Your feelings flow from and reinforce your current self-image and, as a result, influence you to maintain the status quo, to keep doing what you’ve been doing. [Even when it is not producing a positive result]

Upgrading your self-image, and, by extension your life, requires growth. And useful growth inevitably involves resistance, struggle, and tension. Sometimes this is a solo experience and sometimes it involves other people in your life. To follow your feelings, instead of your goals, is to follow the path of least resistance and to miss out on the excellent life that could be yours. This is the road most traveled and it is not for you!

A worthy goal requires you to let go of the status quo. It requires that you break out of the comfort zone and move into the achievement zone. This means making the inner transition from feeler to doer. Consider that high achievers are motivated by pleasurable outcomes (their goals), while underachievers are motivated by pleasurable methods (how it feels now). This dynamic is a learned approach to life that allows us to fulfill our God-given potential.

Once you become truly committed, you will trigger a chain reaction of serendipitous events that propel you toward your best life. Positive feelings follow positive actions. Making and keeping promises to the important people in your life builds trust and boosts relational joy. Remember, you can override negative, self-defeating emotions by initiating positive motion. Most of the world will wait until they feel like it. You, on the other hand, have made a commitment.

Now go do it!

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