“Commitment leads to action. Action brings your dream closer.” Marica Wieder
For many, the end of each year brings with it a New Year’s Resolution of doing better next year. Since discovering a commitment is stronger than a resolution, I utilize the four-step process to continue making New Year’s Commitments.
The headings in my previous article: “Are You Paying the Price or Enjoying the Price You Paid?” “Be Efficient, not Emotional” and “Practice Intentional Thinking Not Wishful Thinking,” are from my experiences learning to use that four-step process. Each year my pursuit of greater commitment yields a treasure trove of insight into the “what,” “how,” and “why” behind my thoughts and decision making.
Step One – Address people and necessary things now – don’t wait
Procrastination leads to many missed opportunities, putting off addressing responsibilities used to leave me unprepared to answer the door when opportunity knocked. I had to learn to be intentional and make decisions with my life’s purpose in mind.
Ask yourself if allotting time for the people and items you’re dealing with now are keeping you in your lane of purpose or moving you away from it? Specific “why” and “when” questions reveal your level of commitment to intentionally being better tomorrow.
Ask yourself how long correspondences will go without a response? How many times will you look at files and posted notes before addressing them? How often have you dismissed reminders and then felt the pressure of time constraints closing in on you? I experienced all of them. I decided to be intentional in asking myself, why am I or am I not deciding to address these now?
Step Two – Be proactive and decide on the what, why, where, when and how
“I’m as prepared for tomorrow to the degree I’m proactive today.” – JSP
Being proactive leads to more productivity; being reactive opens the door to more inactivity. Efficiently handling responsibilities today is a confidence builder empowering us to be even better tomorrow.
Stephen Covey says, “Proactive people recognize that they are “response-able.” They don’t blame genetics, circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. They know they choose their behavior. Reactive people, on the other hand, are often affected by their physical environment. They find external sources to blame for their behavior.” (1)
I have a binder that I call “The Playbook,” its where in December, I enter my regular routines for the following year. My weekly schedules are reviewed, assessed, and updated on Sunday evening then finalized on Monday morning. Whether personal, family, business or social, they’re entered in the Playbook. The Playbook allows me to see my future intentionally unfolding one day at a time.
Step Three – Clearly identify the intended outcomes for each (include relationships)
Be as specific as possible when articulating what you want to happen and when. It’s impossible to realize vague, open-ended desires, and it is for this reason intentional leaders utilize action plans while multitudes carry around a wish list. Neil Strauss says, “Without commitment, you cannot have depth in anything.”
To live with your life’s purpose in view define specific expectations for;
- Who you are becoming
- Where all your relationships are going
- What you should be doing
- How and when you intend to get those done
- Finalize by answering the why for each one
Step Four – Do what directs you toward intended outcomes
If you’re thorough with the first three steps, this step is easy enough. No planning necessary just schedule time for monitoring and assessing yourself daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates
(1) “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” Habit 1. By Stephen R. Covey