Getting Yourself to Act: 3 Ways Commitments Give You Power


Are you having trouble getting yourself to act on your goals? Is your motivation, shall we say, pathetic? I was experiencing this recently until I did one thing: I made a commitment.

When I say I made a commitment, I don’t mean I made a decision. A decision is good but it lacks power. A commitment is something you do that is more tangible and real.

The commitment I made was to sign up for my 10th marathon. I spent the $80 and registered. Now I am committed.

Making that small commitment has had a great effect on my daily exercise program. I was having trouble getting out every morning to run or exercise. My motivation was anemic at best. I knew I needed something to motivate me to get out there every day. That’s when I decided to run another marathon. But that was just a decision. The commitment came when I actually put my non-refundable money where my mouth was.

I’m reminded of the story of General Cortez when he landed his armies in Mexico to fight the Aztecs. To insure victory, he ordered the burning of their ships so there would be no means of retreat. By burning the ships it gave the soldiers only two options: win the war or perish. Now that is what I call commitment!

There is great power in making commitments. Here are three ways commitments can help:

1. You have a goal to work towards.

When I was getting up each morning to simply go out running I had no real reason to do it. Sure, I wanted to be healthy but sometimes that’s not enough. When I committed to run a marathon it gave me a very clear-cut and definable goal to shoot for.

2. You will experience pain if you don’t follow through.

Let’s face it, we are all motivated to avoid pain. When I was trying to exercise each morning without a commitment, failure to do it wasn’t too painful. Now that I’ve made a commitment, failure to exercise each morning will result in a very painful failure, the pain and humiliation of not completing a marathon.

3. The decision is already made.

When you make a commitment, it locks you into a decision. There is no wondering for me each morning whether I should go running or not. The decision is made. (See article Decide to Decide).

My challenge for you is to examine your goals and find ways that you can make a real commitment to do them. Burn your ships, so to speak. Put your money where your mouth is. Commit!

Thank you.

2 thoughts on “Getting Yourself to Act: 3 Ways Commitments Give You Power

  1. I belong to a small church group, where the people have become somewhat of a caring family. They are each of them concerned with my smoking. I am a heavy smoker and it is important that I kick this habit.
    I recently stated my intention to quit smoking while in Toronto for a couple of weeks. I prayed and asked Jesus for help with this.
    Now it may be that this article on the topic of Commitment may be just what I need. I more or less have to make some effort to have put aside the cigarettes.
    Have I put my ‘money’ out there? By praying in the company of my church group? Yeah – now I gotta’ put my money where my mouth is.
    When I return from Toronto in mid-April, one of my closest friends in the church group is going to be picking me up from the airport here in BC and he is going to be mighty interested if I am or am not smoking!

    • I wish you the best of luck Carly in your efforts to quit smoking. Many people have done it and so can you! -Gary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *