I want to talk about commitment.
I read an interesting article today about being 100% committed to something you want to achieve.
Now most of us like to land in the 95 and 99 percent committed range. We want to believe in moderation. We want to give ourselves a little bit of slack as long as we're doing really well most of the time, we feel okay with it. But this article posted interesting perspective and that is a little bit unusual especially when it comes to the health and fitness world.
The point is that when you commit 100% to something it's actually easier to stick to then when you only commit 99%. Sounds counter-intuitive, right? Let me explain.
It has to do with a little thing called decision fatigue. That's the concept that we are faced with thousands upon thousands of decisions every day, and we can only make so many good decisions in the course of a given day or given time. And the more often we have to make decisions the less likely they're going to be good ones. Have you heard about how Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg always wear the same shirt? This is a strategy to reduce decision fatigue. It's one less thing to have to think about, and one less element occupying up precious brain space and energy. To put another way, they were fully committed to their image!
So let's take a health and fitness example. How about someone who's going to 100% commit to no sugary sweets or processed foods for a certain time period, versus somebody who's going to try to follow the 80/20 principle or the moderation rule. The 100% committed person actually is going to have an easier time saying NO to sweets when out for lunch with the girls, or out for dinner on a date night. It's an easy an automatic NO when somebody asked if you want dessert. On the other hand the 99% committed has to think ‘do I want dessert today, or tomorrow? Do I want this now, or later? Have I already had sugary sweets this week, or not? Will eating this now get me to my goal or not?’ This need to make a decision repeats over and over. Every time somebody offers you something, you have to think if you should have it or not. And actually over time that becomes harder and harder and harder to say no, right? Especially with social pressure. On the flip side, being 100% committed makes it easier for your NO to be automatic, and also totally explains to your friends and people in your world why you're saying no to things, so there's not the question marks and raised eyebrows or social stigma of refusing offers.
The same goes for workouts. If you committed to doing a minimum of some activity every single day, how much easier would that be than if you just committed to work out “more.” Or five days a week? Or 6 days a week? Committing to do something every day makes it easier to make that decision when you don't want to get out of bed in the morning to actually get up and at least do that four minute tabata. Committing to something every day makes it easier to answer the question ‘Do I go to happy hour or do I go to the gym?’ Committing to fitness every day makes it easier to plan your weekend events because you know you have to get in a quick run or that quick circuit workout before you socialize or go to brunch. In contrast the 99% committed person has to continually ask themselves the question ‘Do I or don't I? Can I get away with not doing this today if I do it tomorrow?’
Being 99% committed opens the door to procrastination and rationalization. It opens the door to the part of our brain that does not want to change those habits. In contrast, the 100% committed person is truly making new habits because when you do something every day, when you are truly consistent, it's gradually going to become a habit.
Now I’ve always been a fan of moderation and not needing to become obsessed and crazy restrictive, but on the other hand this concept of decision fatigue makes a lot of sense to me, provided the commitment is something small and achievable. Baby steps, right!
Does this make sense to you? Have you ever truly committed 100% to something? This could can be a business goal, a personal goal, health or fitness lifestyle element, anything. Ideas could be going to bed by a certain time every night, reviewing your budget and spending every day, writing just 10 minutes every morning if you have a blog to keep up with, completing a minimum of 5 minutes of activity first thing every morning, or starting your day with a tall glass of water. Simple, little things for starters.
When have you ever truly committed 100% to something? And what if you did even for a short period of time? What could you commit 100% to right now?
What it for the next 30 days you absolutely made a commitment to yourself in one area of your life? How different do you think you would feel in 30 days? I bet you'd be surprised at the results! Test it out, and see if committing 100% to a small goal or action makes a difference for you.