Has it ever happened to you that they told you that they’ll give you an answer tomorrow and maybe you receive it the following week? Or that they would give back what they had borrowed from you and have to repeat it over and over again until it arrives? And say that you are going to do sports from Monday and you end up on the couch watching Netflix in the end? All of this we see on a daily basis more frequently than we would like has something in common, the lack of commitment. And today, I want to tell you about my journey improving this skill that I perceive as essential by now.
What is commitment?
Before we start talking about commitment, let’s see what the Cambridge Dictionary says commitment is:
- A promise or firm decision to do something.
- Willingness to give your time and energy to a job, activity, or something that you believe in.
- Something that you must do or deal with that takes your time.
In other words, commitment is to assume an obligation or give our word that something is going to happen. And the lack of it is not accomplishing what we must do.
And I tell all this because I am the first one who has missed his commitments and then has apologized. Once after another. Until I analyzed the pattern and discovered that the source of the problem is the same: lack of commitment. And when I stopped to think, I realized that it was part of my identity and people cannot trust me to fulfill a task or they need to check on me twice because otherwise they fear that it will not be carried out, obviously. In other words, transmitted reliability decreases and, therefore, trust too.
Because actions speak louder than words.
Why didn’t I fulfill commitments?
The main reasons that I have detected in a lack of commitment are the following:
- Because I feel like I don’t have the ability.
- Because I do not have time.
- Because it’s not important.
- Because I forget.
But it could be summarized as follows:
- Because it is not a priority for me and / or it does not motivate me.
It is not the priority at that time, so I don’t pay enough attention to it or, even worse, I just don’t feel like doing it.
The first thing I might’ve think is “I’m going to start saying no to commitments that aren’t necessary, and when I’m going to commit to something, think first if I can keep it”. That would be a first step. But it happens that we frequently commit ourselves to things because the idea of the result attracts us, and we immediately cheer ourselves up and when it comes to executing, that desire dissolves just as quickly, like tears in rain.
If we really have the capacity to accomplish something and we want to do it but we still cannot, we often blame it on a lack of motivation. We procrastinate because we feel that we are not motivated enough and we postpone the task.
When faced with a situation, we clearly encounter two phases: intention and action.
We often place the motivation between those two. First, we think about what we are going to do. Then we need the motivation, the desire, to finally take action.
This popular belief is what often stops us from taking action. We are not mentally prepared to carry out the task and we are putting it off, waiting for the perfect moment in which the planets align to take action.
The truth is that motivation is basically a feeling, and we cannot depend on a feeling that may or may not come. Feelings are temporary. We rely on the mistaken belief that we have to want to do something before doing it. In reality, what we need at that time is discipline or willpower.
Five minute rule
In most cases, the friction of starting the task is the main reason for procrastination. Motivation comes after taking action, when we see results of our actions, and it leads us to want more.
Knowing this, I apply the five minute rule. This tries to force me to make only 5 minutes of that commitment that I have to fulfill. Once the task is started, even if it takes an hour to do it, it will be much easier to finish it.
When we become disciplined, we are rewarded with positive results, which motivate us to continue initiating tasks that are unpleasant at first, but very appreciative after going through that moment of discomfort.
I hope this post helps you get up and do what you want if you are like I have been in the past. If you have more advice to improve in these aspects, I encourage you to comment on it to help more people.