Remember that time you were feeling super-hyped after attending a seminar, watching some video, reading a post or listening to a talk that made you want to finally take action, change direction or come up with new ideas? More importantly, this inspiration made you feel and believe that you CAN make things happen? Your life was about to change!
Yes, you’ve got goals and dreams. And maybe somewhere in your mind, in between the doubts and fears, you know you can create all that stuff. You’ve got lots to offer and you want to make an impact, maybe on your own life and maybe on the world around you.
And for a short time, you FEEL you can do it. ‘Cuz you read about that someone who fought for a cause or persisted against all odds. Or maybe it was that ordinary person who changed the world in some way. Maybe it was that someone who drank just coconut water, exercised and meditated two hours daily for a year who might just live forever who encouraged you. Maybe it’s that video of that successful one who built a 6-figure business out of their passion. So you attended that workshop, changed your perspective or reclaimed your superpowers. You took notes at that webinar promising to make all your dreams come true if you just follow those 3 steps. Maybe you bought that juicer and you’re ready to go. You subscribed to all those email lists for even more inspiration. And you browsed through endless pinterest boards for more creative ideas.
Life is full of ideas. In fact, life as a whole is the collective expression of endless ideas; it’s nothing more than an idea-manifesting machine. Is there anything, anything at all you can point out that exists, that didn’t begin as an idea first? And I don’t just mean objects, technology, inventions or businesses. I mean everything (apart from the natural world, which was of course here long before us, and who’s ‘idea’ it was, is still unclear). From global social, economic or political structures, to personal choices and experiences… everything is made up of human-made ideas and their consequences.
So your mind is bubbling away, imagining the new possibilities and opportunities that could open up. You’re full of enthusiasm, excited about your ideas and what’s to come. You’re on fire.
But…what do you actually then DO about it? Soon enough after that initial high, you find yourself distracted from your newly laid-out path and goals. Or maybe you never took any real steps at all. Instead you kept looking for even more inspiration. If you just found that one ultimate source of positive motivation that will push you, or touched that one magic moment, you’d finally get off your ass and really make things happen. Maybe the universe will just take care of it as you’re doing so well at wishing for it.
The sad truth is that inspiration will you get you nowhere. You don’t get active, creative or successful by reading or watching things about it, as inspiring or uplifting as they may be. It’s all worth nothing unless you use it or apply it. Unless you actually take action, and throw yourself completely into it. And you have to do this consistently, continuously. So if you’re sitting in front of the screen, searching for and chasing more inspiration, you’re simply deluding yourself. You’re probably using inspiration as an excuse to hold back or do nothing, subconsciously telling yourself you’re being productive. Well – you’re really not. Inspiration, on its own, is useless.
So what do you need then if not inspiration?
So instead of inspiration, what you really need is commitment. Are you just wishing for your dreams to come true or are you committed to them coming true? Are you attracted to them or dedicated to them? Are you interested or are you invested in them? Do you desire them or are you passionate about them?
“I know that I have the ability to achieve the object of my definite purpose in life; therefore I demand of myself persistent, continuous action toward its attainment, and I here and now promise to render such action.” ~ Bruce Lee
Commitment’s got a bad name
Somehow the word ‘commitment’ seems to scare off some people. Here are some reasons why:
It feels like you’re facing a life-long sentence
Maybe it makes you think of the future ahead as some exhausting prospect that will necessarily require endless hard work, making you into some sort of prisoner or slave. But are you not already a prisoner, feeling limited and not able to go where you want to go? Would you rather live in a ‘prison’ of making your dreams come to life or one of regret and frustration?
You want it now
Maybe you don’t want to think that far, you want the magic to happen straight away. You give in to impatience, subconsciously thinking that if it doesn’t happen right now, at the press of a button or brought to you by deliveroo, it’s not worth focusing on or working towards. Better spend your time on things you can enjoy now, like watching more inspiring videos or taking a nap. But all things take time to come to life. Would you smash an egg in the hope it will hatch?
You don’t know how you’re gonna get there
Sometimes you might get discouraged by the fact you don’t know yet exactly how or when it will all come into reality. But that’s exactly what ‘potential’ is. It’s not yet anywhere, yet it’s there. It’s stored information that’s yet to become clear or apparent. Just like the egg, or a seed. Where’s the plant or tree? Will you find it if you smash it open? If you’ve never seen a seed before, you might toss it away not realising it’s got inside all the information it needs to become a tree. You don’t need to know the exact workings of it and how it will begin to grow roots or branches. If you know and recognise the potential of what it is, you know that with patience and commitment the tree will become reality, and that’s all you need to know for now.
So if you’re feeling frustration or any kind of anger or other negative feelings towards yourself around your goals, maybe it’s because you haven’t committed to yourself. You haven’t been honouring your dreams or your potential to achieve them. A commitment means you’re there, for however long it might take. At the same time though, it’s useful to be open to the possibility that change can happen or could be available at any moment, even right now. So this moment does count. And moments accumulate. So you can rest assured that even if you’re full of inspiration, nothing will ever happen if you don’t do something about it, starting this moment. And stick to it.
So what does it take to commit to your dreams or goals?
What you need to remember is that commitment is simply a decision for a continuous focus – one you stick to. It’s a decision to follow and continue to follow what you want. It’s simply building or creating your ideas, step-by-step, over time. Have you considered the fact that time will be passing anyway? You’re gonna end up at that future point either way. So why not commit to your idea, doing something for it, even small, every day? You can be sure you’ll find yourself at that point in the future far beyond where you are right now, even if you don’t know exactly where that is.
Have a vision
And what I mean by that is not necessarily having a set plan or knowing all the details. You probably DON’T know all the details of how you’re gonna get there, and that’s completely fine. Maybe you believe that you need to have it all figured out. You might feel that if you don’t know yet exactly what to do, it’s pointless or you’d rather just not do anything. But that desire to figure it all out is a form of resistance and it’s a block.
What you DO need though, is a clear idea or vision. You’ll then learn along the way, as your mind always does. So imagine the results rather than exactly the ways to get there if you’re not sure about them yet. And as best you can, plan what you want to do at this point now to take the nearest step forward. Write it all down, make a vision board, whatever works for you. But you need to put it down somehow in a way that’s clear and visual, something you can refer back to and follow. Without this, you’ll find you’re doing things with no clear focus and you’d be completely wasting your time.
Sometimes overwhelm is what’s holding you back. Again, this might be because you don’t know exactly how or when things will happen. Maybe because there’s so much to do, you’d rather just forget the whole thing. Taking a nap seems much more attractive. But this overwhelm is probably a result of over-thinking too far ahead while having a not-so-clear vision. So clarify that image, and then follow your vision-plan, but only focus on what you should be doing next. This can be what you should be doing this week, today, or right about now.
Also, understand that overwhelm is natural, normal and just part of the process. Overwhelm means you’re taking some powerful steps. It means you’re gonna be learning meaningful new shit. Or that you’re being prepared for greater things. You’re about to move forward, big-time. So it may be a challenge, but instead of complaining or resigning, you can take it on. You can see it as something exciting, that’ll make you much stronger and more confident. That’s what it’s there for. You might even find that after some time you’ll be looking for more ‘overwhelming’ challenges because you know their value.
Like overwhelm, this is just part of the process. Maybe there are fears you’d rather avoid facing. Maybe you’re holding onto limiting beliefs or listening to negative self-talk as you’ve adopted some stories about yourself and the world. In fact, if you’re not feeling any discomfort – that’s probably cuz you’re not going anywhere. Take discomfort as a positive sign that things are moving. Deal with whatever is in your way. Your mind will first be uncomfortable with change, but soon enough this discomfort dissolves. Even more than disliking change, your mind loves learning. This is because it’s essentially a learning machine! So see it as that, and your mind will then reward you with newly found or reinforced confidence and determination. Plus, what’s more disturbing or uncomfortable to you, dealing with fear or giving up on your dreams? Is that really your preference?
Realise every day counts
I can’t stress this enough. You DON’T need to know yet exactly how you’re gonna make it all happen. You don’t need to have it all worked out. Things will begin to snowball once there’s momentum. For now, simply decide to move in that direction and be determined to deal with whatever challenges you might face. Sure, you need that vision, and the more clarity the better. But you’re not going to do it all at once. You’ll take one step at a time. Each moment makes a difference moving you forward, and with each step you take, the next one will reveal itself more clearly. Every single day matters. And you can start from anywhere and anytime. So all you need each day is to decide what’s most important and urgent for that day in order to keep going in the right direction. In the famous words of Tesco:
Stick to your plan without question
Now, stick to your near-future or daily plan without arguing or questioning. Your mind will want to argue and doubt. So be ready to get on with it even if questions or distractions come up. You don’t need to follow around the arguments in your mind. Just let them be and keep to the plan anyway. By doing this repetitively, you’ll be building a positive habit to keep going and you’ll be breaking mind-patterns that used to hold you back. Your mind loves habits. Your brain and body want to save you energy so it much prefers the automatic mode. This is why it reverts to what it’s habitually used to. But you are the one ultimately giving the instructions. So gradually, keeping to your plan without question will also turn into an automatic response and behaviour. It will no longer feel like an effort but instead like simple routine.
Remind yourself of your vision frequently. Focus. Despite the challenges. You’ll have breakthrough days and not so hot days, and that’s OK. It’s OK even if you’ve wasted the last couple of days or even weeks or months. Just because you stopped for a time when you were down doesn’t mean you’ve committed to quitting. You can keep going NOW. Accept you’ll get some waves of resistance or your mind trying to pull you back into the familiar. You might be tempted to give up while blaming different circumstances or people. But you can turn negative fears, stress or hold-backs into productive motivators. You can reframe them. You can ask yourself the right questions. Either way, keep your goal and vision in mind. Remind yourself of any small advancements you’ve already made or any small successes. Remember these all add up. Results will motivate you to keep going.
In my own life, I can honestly say that I’ve managed to let go of all that was holding me back, not only because I wanted or even intended to, but because I was utterly committed and passionate about becoming free of my own prison. Some might say I was even over-occupied with it, obsessed with it. I put it at the top of my priority list and I kept refocusing myself on my end results. And I didn’t know exactly how or when I’d achieve them, but it didn’t matter. I knew that by sticking to it and making that next small move, the road will keep revealing itself.
With clients coming to my hypnosis or coaching practice, there’s a clear difference between those who just wish to achieve their goals and make great changes to their lives, and those who are fully committed to making that happen. Guess who makes the quicker progress and lasting shifts…? In fact, every so often I get clients who are so clearly not committed, who either expect things to happen without focusing any of their attention or efforts, or don’t care as much about their goals as they do about their familiar comfort (a comfort which is of course false. Subconsciously they’re anything but comfortable and this continues to nag them. Not to mention the feelings of regret later on).
As paying customers, of course I don’t turn them away. But if they don’t care enough, they probably won’t make a real or lasting difference beyond their phase of inspiration, as explosive as that may be. It’s such a joy though working with those who do care enough, who throw themselves completely into the process. Those who get the results they’re after, cuz they’ve invested not just their money, but themselves.
So again…and be completely honest with yourself. Are you just wishing for your dreams to come true or are you committed to them coming true? Are you attracted or dedicated to them? Are you interested or invested in them? Do you desire or are you passionate about them?
Please do leave a comment and let me what you think. Feel free to share what’s been holding you back from making a commitment and how this post helped you or gave you inspiration! 😛
“One Day, or Day One, you decide.” ~ Paulo Coelho