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I recently stumbled upon an interesting article on gym membership in the US
As per that article, 63% of gym memberships in US go completely unused
82% of gym members go to the gym less than once per week
22% completely stop going six months into their membership
These numbers were pre-covid and I am sure that statistics would be very similar across the globe
Similar stats exist in another area – online courses
Completion rates for online courses vary between 5%-15%
Why does this happen ?
Why do people sign-up for gym membership with such fanfare in the beginning of the year and then drop out ?
Why do people buy online courses with an intent to learn but never complete the course ?
One big reason why this happens is….
Lack of Commitment
As per French language, the "commitment" originated from the word “commettement”, which meant "the pledging or engaging of oneself, a pledge, a promise"
But I will add another element to this definition – irrevocability, something which cannot be reversed
And that is really the true essence of a commitment – an irrevocable promise or pledge to do something
Nothing changes till you commit
Once you commit, everything changes
If you reflect on your list of goals....
..Some of the goals are on the list purely because they are wishful thinking
..Some are there because someone else has told you to do so or because others are also doing it
..Some of the goals are there because it makes you look or feel good
So you may have too many goals, but you may NOT be committed to most of them
That is the real problem
Only a few goals will be there on the list which you truly want to achieve – these need your true commitment
The same challenge is faced by business leaders in the corporate world
I coach many C-suite leaders and most of them are over-busy, booked back-to-back in meetings all day
They have a long "to-do list”, but they are NOT committed to most of them
And when you have a long list of things to do, your time, focus and energy is dispersed, right ?
So then, how do you really go about it ?
Commitment can happen at 3 different levels, all equally powerful and impactful :
Level 1 - To Self
You commit to do something not for anyone else, but for YOURSELF
Let us take a fitness goal e.g. running a marathon
Maybe it is something you always wanted to do and only you know how important it is for you
There are various ways to be fit, but if running a marathon means something to you, you commit to it
I had never been a public speaker throughout my life
In 2019, at the age of 46, I decided that I want to be a public speaker
It was not something I had shared with my family or my friends. It was a very personal mission for me
And I had all the typical fears and anxiety about public speaking, which you may also have
But I committed to it
I prepared. I practiced. I applied at various events
Over the course of the next 6 months, I gave 4 TEDx talks. TED, as you know is the biggest platform to share path breaking ideas
And now I speak regularly at international conferences and corporate events globally
Level 2 - For Others
Sometimes, what you want to achieve will benefit people around you as well – directly and indirectly. Your family, friends, colleagues at work
Let us take the same example of a fitness goal
When you create a healthy lifestyle, you are happier, more energetic, more passionate
People around you also benefit from this change – better relationships, higher motivation and productivity
If you have kids, they may look up to you as a role model for leading a healthier lifestyle
That is a commitment for the sake of others
I had never written in my life, but I knew that I had so much to share with the world
So towards the end of 2019, I started writing posts on Linkedin
In 2020, I committed to writing everyday – to share my experiences
That was my way to add value to my community. No one had asked me to do so
And since then, for close to 2 years now, I have written. EVERY SINGLE DAY
In 2021, I created this weekly email newsletter ( “Riders on the storm” ) for my community. I created my own blog
And I committed to writing every week
Every week, I spend several hours creating this newsletter
That is my commitment to my community – to give as much value as I can
Level 3 - Commitment for a cause
This goes way beyond you. It is NOT about you anymore
Let us take the same example of a fitness goal
Maybe you have seen someone close suffer because of an unhealthy lifestyle
Maybe you want to start a fitness movement within your community. You want more and more people to live a healthier life
Then that us what you commit to – doing things to create a bigger and broader impact
I was part of a global coaching initiative this year, where we provided coaching support within our community
I personally committed to and provided around 50+ hours of pro-bono coaching to professionals across 3 continents this year
And I know that coaching has a broader impact - when clients makes a breakthrough, it positively impacts people around them as well
Each of these levels are equally powerful and impactful - you decide how you want to play
So what can you do differently in 2022 ?
Do not make a long list of goals
Make a small list of commitments
And here is a single powerful reflection for you to start-off :
1) Pick up one specific area from your personal and professional lives respectively
2) Then think - What is the one thing you can truly commit to achieving 2022 in those areas ?
Note your intent in this statement. "I commit to_______________"
Commitment is like entering a one-way street. Once you enter, there is no turning back
Once you commit, it changes everything
I would be interested to know what came up for you as you read and reflected on this email
Stay safe and stay healthy