The Truth About COMMITMENT (& 3 Steps to Get It)
Getting the body you’ve dreamed of is quite simply the product of COMMITMENT.
So we are told; over and over and over again.
Want to get to the top of that mountain? Climb it. Need to lose 100 pounds? Stop eating so much.
Just don’t this! Just do that.
The “BIG C.”
Is it really this easy or that hard?
So many people around you are succeeding in so many ways—all reaping the glorious benefits of commitment and discipline. It’s enough to leave you asking, “What’s wrong with me? Maybe I don’t want it enough.”
As Andy says to Opie, “You want the truth son?”
“Yep, just give it to me straight, Pa.”
Yes, commitment is involved in achievement but we love to over-simplify success—be it fitness success of financial. Not only does it make for a better story, with a more simple and noble moral but we like the stories that it make us look good.
So, along with the impressive photos of lean, chiseled bodies of men and woman you’ll nearly always find the embedded message of heroic effort, sacrifice and commitment. This may very well be the most common theme of our life time.
From the time we’re old enough to understand words we’re bathed in the message of struggle, hard work and sacrifice. Imagine the disservice we’d be doing our children or any child to tell them life’s easy—it’s not all pain and suffering—that you can live your dreams without sacrificing everything?
I know of but a few adults who admit to suffering such abuse as children, one being Sir Richard Branson. Seems his parents completely forgot to tell him about how damn hard it was gonna be.
The story we’re rarely getting about this coveted COMMITMENT: It’s not always a struggle nor a sacrifice. In fact, commitment can become almost magically effortless when fueled by the positive feedback of progress and success of significance.
Consider a boy trying to shoot a basketball. If he makes the first 3 shots you’ll find him practicing for hours, even if he misses the next 30. And yet the same boy, missing the first 3 shots, he loses his commitment and is gone even after he making the next 5.
We do what feels good and commitment is what we call it when we’re sticking with something that is feeling good, that is feeding our soul and positive regard for self.
Consider the challenge of becoming a skilled artist and painter. Where many will start from some level of struggle and lack of confidence, those with a natural ability to paint find becoming a skilled artist much, much easier to commit to and ultimately rewarding.
They get better because they get better. Which is in part because they stick to it, even when it looks bleak. They find positive feedback and progress in what’s there, not always comparing to where they want to be.
That’s not to say that if you can’t paint like DaVinci you should not bother. We can all improve our skills and abilities and there may be other rewarding things to painting other than being a great artist. But when we talk fitness, we’re talking about your health and your life which is less optional than art.
We get into a commitment trap, a conflict when we hold ourselves to the standard of Picasso or DaVinci and accept nothing less than the perfect body. Like every other human on earth, you too are imperfect. And that’s what makes it perfect–what makes your body different than every other one. And when you’re comparing yourself to the perfectly lit, skillfully staged, technically crafted images of the “ideal” body, commitment becomes a trap. While you may radically improve your own aesthetics and health, as well as your energy, you also may live in a state of frustration and disappointment–a mental and emotional hell, unable and unwilling to appreciate your own art.
And that sucks…
How Effortless Commitment Works For You
1) Find your art
We are not all meant to be painters or rock stars. Some of us can run longer other faster. Find your authentic expression—your “natural fitness style” as I call it in Strength for LIFE. This is your Strength.
From here the feedback that fuels commitment is easier to find—it finds you. As you gain confidence and fitness, becoming more grounded in your Strength you will come to embrace that a sound, healthy body is not simply strong, nor flexible, nor able to go great distances: It’s all of those things. And I encourage you to embrace “seasons of Strength” which help you develop your fullest and most balanced self.
2) Look at the Road, Ignore the Horizon
Measure your progress from whence you came–the distance you’ve covered to date, not the distance you have yet to travel. For the horizon is always moving and never attained… and will leave you forever chasing and exhausted.
When you’re searching for the feedback, the progress that fuels commitment, look to yourself not the images of perfection. Find what’s working even if it’s the celebration of a workout well done, the feeling of soreness in the abs or lats. The reward of knowing you’re in for the long haul without question or doubt. Just do what today calls for and be proud.
3) Embrace the Rituals
A study of the most committed people, communities and cultures in the world underscore the power and importance of rituals. A commune of monks is not at all unclear on the rituals of prayer and mediation. Most great musicians continue the same daily schedule of practice that made them skilled. Stephen King in his book on writing, shares that he gets up same time, same place every day and writes 2,000 words, rain or shine. He doesn’t check in to see how he’s feeling or if he’s got “the magic” today.
Find your rituals: In training, time, season, schedule. In nutrition which could be like mine and millions of others, starting each day with a Daily Integrated Nutrition Shake. It may be repeat meals, like eating largely the same thing each day. Find your mindfulness space, your mental preparation, focus time and meditation.
Don’t rely on discipline or inspiration in the moment. Commitment is less the “thing” that gets you where you want to go than the combined result of the things you put in place to get you there. And when you want to be doing what you’re doing, when it’s working for you inside out, others will marvel at your commitment and you can give them the truth or allow them to think you too are a marvel of discipline and self-sacrifice.
We both know which the easier and more expected answer is, right?