Commitment to change is hard. It takes a lot to make the shift to something different. The why has to be big enough. There was a reason you thought you needed to change something. There was a reason you thought something needed to be done differently. What is the why?
Every change is made, or not made, based on a cost-benefit analysis. Some would argue that every single behavior is done or not done based on a cost-benefit analysis. With that said, the reason for the change has to be big enough for us to overcome our natural tendencies and habits. The why has to be big enough before we can make a true commitment to change.
Recently, I have decided to simply be healthier, improving my diet and adding exercise. Now, I know how to do this. I know exactly what foods to eat and which ones to not eat. I know how to exercise and the types of exercises I need to do. I have plenty of competence. The problem isn’t one of competence. It’s a problem of making a commitment to change. The why has to be big enough. So, I have to think about feeling better, having a better quality of life, being able to see and enjoy grandchildren, and those types of things. The why has to be BIG!
Think about the last time you tried to make a change but couldn’t get committed to it. What was your reason for the change in the first place? Could you write it down? Was it big enough? Was there a more significant purpose involved? Change is hard enough as it is. Trying to do it without a big why will make commitment to change something scarce, for sure!
A Big Why
John O’Leary was burned from head to toe as a child. He was a 9 year old boy with 100% of his body burned and little chance of survival. He recalled how all of the medical staff treated him and how they always encouraged others. Who was the most important person in that situation? It’s hard to tell. There was a team of physicians, nurses, and many other professionals working on and with John.
John recalled how one of the physicians talked to the housekeeping staff. He told the housekeeper that infection was the reason burn victims die. He told the man he was the most important person in the hospital keeping this 9 year old boy alive.
I don’t know, but I am guessing John O’Leary’s room was the cleanest one in that hospital! Why? Because there was more than just cleaning a floor, or wiping off surfaces. There was a little boy who needed to be infection-free. That’s a big why! That’s something worth making a commitment to!
What is it you want to change? What will commitment to change make possible? Think big. No…BIGGER! What will be there when you make the change and stick to it? How will this change help you pursue something that’s important to you? Your why has to be significant to you. It can’t be someone else’s why. It can’t be a popular slogan or quote. It has to be something genuinely important to you.
Frame your why in the way that works best for you. It may need to be negative. For example, “This boy will die if this room isn’t remarkably clean.” If may need to be negative – “You are keeping this boy alive when you keep this room remarkably clean.” Find what works for you and frame your why that way.
Remind yourself of your why often. Put a post-it on your computer screen. Make it your screen saver. Put it on the refrigerator. Put it in places where you can see it and be exposed to it regularly. Make sure you have a big why. Your what will be easier to commit to when your why is big enough.
What things have helped you make a commitment to change? Feel free to comment. We would love to hear from you!