As a personal trainer I frequently hear people mistake intention for commitment. For instance, people say, “This time I am really committed to working out regularly. This time I am really committed to losing weight and being healthy. This time I am really committed to following through!” And the people who make these “commitments” not only say it with conviction, they mean it . . . at the time. They certainly intend to realize their dreams, yet they fail to produce the results they profess to want. Why is that? Are they lacking commitment? Perhaps. Or maybe they’re just misunderstanding what making a commitment truly means.
When we blur the lines between intention and commitment, we do ourselves a great disservice. An intention is a simply a thought. It may be a pleasant or inspiring thought, but ultimately, it is only a thought. Left without action, that thought alone will not lead us to our goals. Making a decision to pursue a particular goal, to undertake a particular cause or to become a particular person means devotion to doing something about our thoughts and desires. Commitment therefore, is intent paired with action.
We admire and appreciate someone who makes a personal commitment, faces down adversity and goes the distance no matter what the consequence. We call these people strong, tough and extraordinary. Many times, we think that these people possess something inside that the majority of us lack. Not true. The people that remain faithful to their commitments are ordinary people… with extraordinary resolve… and a solid action plan.
True commitment means, “I am all in, no matter what.” There are no built-in exit plans, no easy outs, no excuses, and no safety nets. Desire fuels the commitment that resolves to not only endure, but triumph over the hardships that will occur along your journey. A commitment implies one hundred percent heart, dedication, devotion and percent… UNTIL. Those who are “all in” welcome the challenge and stand firm. Those who dress up an intention and called it a commitment: exit stage right.
We are the choices we make. So think long and hard before making them. When you choose to make a firm commitment – to yourself or to another – proceed with integrity and resolve. A commitment carries power AND responsibility. Respect it. If you decide to go “all in”, then do it with total abandon. Give it everything you have inside, even when it challenges you most. Make no apology. Have no regret. You will gain much more than you could ever lose. Be comforted, knowing that your commitments are a meaningful part of self-discovery and personal growth. Gain satisfaction in knowing that you stayed solid until the end. Relish in a profound sense of tranquillity, confident you will never have to withstand the sting of regret when looking back over the landscape of your life and seeing it littered with unrealized dreams or the best of intentions.