"There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstances permit. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results." -- Art Turock
I am not a fan of New Year's resolutions. According to a telephone study conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, more than 75 percent of US adults (18 years and older) plan to make one or more New Year's resolutions for 2008. This is despite the fact that, of those who made resolutions for 2007, more than half failed to keep them. Top resolutions that people made and failed at in 2007 include: Increasing exercise (51 percent failed), eating healthier (58 percent failed), saving money (52 percent failed), spending more time with family (57 percent failed), and enjoying leisure (54 percent) failed.
There has to be a better conduit for personal change. Perhaps there is catch to this whole resolution thing?
Webster's dictionary defines the word "resolve" as "the state of reaching a firm decision or a declaration. Decide. Declare. Denounce." Sounds impressive, but where is the word "commit"? Where is the part where we act deliberately and intentionally to reach our goals?
Take a minute and compare last year's resolutions to soulful commitments you have made in the past. Notice the energy, motivation, and drive attached to each. How was each goal different? Which ones became lackluster after a few weeks or months? Which continue to live today? Commitment gives goals sticking power. Perhaps it is a heightened sense of accountability or the desire to preserve personal integrity, but commitments make things real. Resolve without commitment is like putting the cart before the horse.
This year, do not let your resolve set you up for a setback. Commit to personal change and watch things really take off. Here are five big payoffs:
1.) You will expect nothing less than success. Making a resolution is like making a choice. When you make a choice, you can always change your mind, take a different course of action or find a way out. Naturally, the degree to which you expect success will remain small. Making a commitment is like taking a pledge. A commitment means that the stakes are higher. Take, for example, the popular New Year's resolution to lose weight. Thinking small about weight loss can keep thoughts of failure alive. If you expect your weight loss efforts to be derailed, they will be. If you expect to stay on track, you will get much more in return. Commitments keep hope alive, create room for success, and set you up for permanent change.
2.) You will strive for something meaningful and significant. Most of us commit to worthwhile endeavors. So the question becomes, what goal is worthy of your time, money and energy? For example, why start exercising this year? After all, working exercise around a busy schedule can be a major inconvenience. You might have to put out some extra cash, give up other enjoyable tasks, and expend energy you don't think you have. What will you get in return and what is meaningful about that?