Data is the best thing to motivate and inform a person on what’s happening now, what needs to happen to get better, and to get a plan in place to set a target and hit it. However, the problem is not trying to figure out what to do; the problem is actually following through with it – through good times, illness, setbacks, and just getting run over by life in general. Why is commitment so hard?!
Maybe because Commitment is a little like running a preset course – once you start, you’ve got to see it through to the finish line. Whether it’s one I’ve run many times or it’s brand new, the beginning is usually met with a certain amount of enthusiasm and determination. Somewhere around the middle, the initial euphoria has worn off and the sweat equity has begun to chime in. Things are protesting – muscles, old injuries – but determination is still in the driver’s seat. Hills, speed intervals to get around obstacles – these all start adding to the grinding down of my enthusiasm. There’s always a point where I just want to stop. Stop the pain, stop the struggle, stop the pushing. But then the end comes thankfully into sight, I rally, and the whole thing comes to an end. Yay! I did it! And then I rinse and repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
Ahh – that’s where the grit and sweat meet the road.
Commitment is about sticking with something over time until you see it through to the end. And the daily recommitment to making it to the finish line is where faith and determination flag a little. Ok – sometimes a lot. And if it’s that hard for a big grown-up person like me, how much harder must it be for my students and young athletes?
That’s why I preach “small digestible bites” as my mantra for getting things done and making it successfully to the finish line, whatever that may be. I love seeing the whole picture, but honestly, I can’t deal with the whole thing everyday, and neither can they. I feel crushed and overwhelmed when I think of all the things I need to do between here and there, and that’s the same with them, too. It’s too easy to think it’s all due to laziness, procrastination, or lack of “umph”. Usually, it’s closer to the truth that they think they just bit off more than they can chew and get that “deer in the headlights” approach to following through. Much easier to swallow is setting a small, attainable goal that seems doable and a little less soul crushing than the ultimate one. Meet enough of those little goals and those little goals will eventually lead to conquering the big one.
So if you’re facing a big finish line yourself, try setting some “water stations” along the way to help yourself stay focused and committed all the way to the end. And if you’re helping someone else reach theirs, you might consider how you can help them see how celebrating lots of little victories along the way adds up to a two-fold victory in the end – reaching the original goal and becoming a commitment ninja!
May good fortune be yours in your race.