How to commit to changing your life
July 18th, 2012 by Agent Kevin Miller
In yesterday’s post “The 5 top reasons you (and I) have failed in so many personal development attempts“, #1 was “We weren’t really committed.”
As humans we fail in most of our efforts for Personal Development, which is another way of saying CHANGING OUR LIVES, because we were not fully committed. We fear commitment because it makes us accountable for our success or failure. It’s why most folks don’t want to be paid on commission, they want to be paid on salary. Commission has risk, salary does not (generally speaking).
Every day thousands of people decide to ‘try’ to lose weight. They look for a strategy that doesn’t look too life-altering and ‘try it’, “I hope this works!” And it doesn’t work. Because IT can’t do the work. We do the work. Or not.
But the core problem here is we seldom have a strong enough motive. The person who tries and tries to lose weight using all kinds of gimmicks will finally succeed once they:
- Get divorced and want to attract a new mate,
- Have a heart attack,
- Have a near death experience that alters their perspective on the seriousness of life,
- …or some other fairly intense circumstance that happens TO them.
Few people actually commit and succeed before things are dire.
So what will make ‘Finding your Purpose and applying it to your Vocation‘ dire for you? I’ve done a couple interviews recently where the motivators were:
- a son who developed Type 1 diabetes
- two miscarriages and melanoma
Today on the Free Agent Underground Show (new time of 2pm MT!) I’m interviewing Richard Palmer-Smith whose primary motivator in redesigning his life has been his wife’s recurring cancer (7 times now).
Should you then wait for something dire to happen? The problem there, is if you do…chances are the survival-mode you’ll find yourself in at such time will make it hard to pursue your best options. You’ll likely be forced to pursue a lesser-than-best option.
The biggest risk in waiting for something dire to cement your motivation however is…nothing happens. Nothing dire enforces itself on your life and you never have to react. This is why we have most folks with death-bed regrets.
HOW THEN…do you commit now, with nothing dire forcing you? While things are fairly good or just not too bad?
I generally see two options work, but before I list them, a very relevant question is to ask yourself WHY. Why you don’t want anything bad enough now to commit. Literally. Sit still and dwell on WHY. If you are not living the life you feel is best today, and you desire change, why do you not want it and believe in it bad enough to commit immediately? Chances are it’s a fear you need to root out, or a lack of care about life in general. So, the two tactics I see work:
1. Create a consequence
Don’t wait for something to happen to you.
- Don’t wait till you’re fired, plan your resignation or just quit.
- Don’t ‘try’ running to lose weight, register for a marathon a year from now in another state, get friends to do it with you, buy your plane ticket and reserve a hotel room.
- Make a deal with your spouse to spend the money and give you extra time on nights and weekends to pursue your purpose and apply it to your vocation, and have a deadline on it. And decide what results you are to show when that deadline hits.
- Need more time? Cancel your cable or satellite TV, give away all your TV screens but one and keep it in a closet, only to be pulled out to watch a movie on the weekends.
- Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. I’m a huge procrastinator, and I actually enjoy the adrenaline of working to meet a deadline. But they are only good if you have accountability and a true negative consequence if you don’t come through.
2. Realize things are ALREADY DIRE
This is the real deal here. THIS is where the best successes stem from:
- You really MIGHT die soon, it’s arrogant to think otherwise. And it’s not morbid to understand this. It’s truth. I am serious in my own life of living as if I only have one year before I die. A year is long enough to still do necessary maintenance on my life, but short enough I can’t screw around just letting the days pass while doing nothing of relative importance in people’s lives.
- If you have kids, you are setting their example for life. Either it’s OK to fritter life away, or it must be taken seriously and spent wisely. Now. We live in the most oblivious, careless, thoughtless culture ever that has made it culturally acceptable to piss our lives away.
- If the dire circumstance you can’t control is in fact coming toward you, you better prepare now by making the best choices while you can…before you’re in survival mode.
- If you recognize a divine Creator that made you and you’ll be accountable for how you spent the life you were given…how can any circumstance get more dire than that? And if you may die in a year…time is short!
- My personal favorite…If you believe you are uniquely used to serve and influence specific people, who will suffer if you don’t DO, then you can’t waste a second! This one hits me, because if you DON’T believe you are specifically necessary and if you don’t help someone then God will just have ‘His will be done’ by someone else, then why would you EVER need to step up? And why was He so persistent on using specific people that tried to side-step His requests (Moses & Jonah are my face stories for that)?
Of course with all that said, I sure haven’t arrived. This challenge is ever present in my life. Daily.