Whether you want to get into the best shape of your life, be the greatest spouse, raise amazing kids or even just achieve financial freedom, you need to commit to making it happen. So success in any field requires you to commit yourselves to a set of commitments. In this article, I’ll reveal the science of commitments and give you simple strategies to succeed in every area of your life.
You’ll most probably agree with me when I say that without consistent commitments, you won’t achieve anything meaningful in your life.
The successful person in any field stands out because he/she is committed to what they do.
Now as a Muslim, you know the importance of commitment more than anyone else. The Ultimate Success, i.e., Jannathul Firdous, is only attainable if you’re committed to becoming a good, God-conscious Muslim who stays away from prohibited things and constantly strives to do good deeds.
So, your true success in both worlds very much depends on the consistent commitments you make daily. It’s not something that you choose to do on a yearly or monthly basis; rather it’s something that you commit to do on a daily basis!
In a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (ra), the Prophet (PBUH) says, “Take on only as much as you can do of good deeds, for the best deeds is that which is done consistently, even if it is little” (Sunan ibn Majah).
Well, if you’re wondering what the ingredients of consistent commitment are, here they are!
The Commitment Equation
Here’s the equation for real success: (Desire + Action) x Consistency = Commitment
Ok, let me explain this with a simple example: as a reader of my blog, you are most probably looking for ways to improve your health and increase your energy. You might also be looking to achieve the best shape of your life.
Let’s say that you’re ready to commit yourself to achieving the best shape of your life so that you can be the best in what you do with increased confidence.
You have the desire to achieve that lean & healthy body that you’ve always wanted. Now, needless to say, just with this desire, you’ll never achieve the body you want. You also need to put the right efforts to make it happen. And you need to work on it on a consistent basis.
So, commitment means, you are willing to put the work consistently to achieve the desired outcome.
Ok, let’s jump into the details of each component!
Desire: Do You REALLY Want It?
Now, before you commit yourself to anything, the question you should ask yourself is this: “Do I REALLY want it? Do I have a burning desire to achieve this outcome?”
Here’s the thing, if you want your commitment to be strong, you need a strong desire too. Your level of desire matches your level of commitment.
Here are two steps you can take to increase your desire to commit:
- Find the true purpose of your commitment. Going back to the previous example, what is the purpose of getting into the best shape of your life? In a previous article, I explained how you could find out your true purpose using a 5-why system. Please read part 1 and part 2 of this system to understand it well.
- Ask yourself the following question: What’s the immediate gratification that I get when I commit to ……. (fill in the blanks)?
For instance, I’m very committed to working out every day. Coupled with my strong purpose and the immediate gratification of “feeling good” and “more energy” drives me to exercise regardless of where I am!
Now, you can apply this to any area of your life. Let’s talk about raising kids. My real purpose of raising obedient, God-fearing kids is to make them role models for others. So, my kids become an ideal investment for my Aakhira.
All that sounds good, but what’s the immediate gratification I get by raising obedient, God-fearing kids? I have a peaceful, serene home! And that’s priceless for any parent!
Here’s a little comparison for you to understand this more deeply. True purpose can be compared to a “long-term” goal. The immediate gratification is a tiny reward you get to pursue your “long-term” goal. It’s the fuel you need to drive to reach your real purpose.
Great, now that you’ve set a “burning desire”, let’s move on to the action part; that’s where the magic happens!
Action: One Bite at a Time
How do you eat an elephant? (ok, I get it… it’s haram to eat elephants. But what about a huge whale? Have you got any appetite for that? :-))
You probably know the answer. One bite at a time. While this wisdom is prevalent, we are stuck when it comes to implementation.
We have grandiose goals, and they stay grandiose forever because we are too afraid to take the first “bite”!
So, at first, any goal or commitment might look huge and most probably impossible to achieve. But, if you were to break down these goals or commitments into smaller, doable chunks, it becomes much easier to achieve them. (Here’s a secret: This is how I coach my clients to achieve astounding results through my six months Online Coaching Programme)
Let me give you an example: in the 1950s, Roger Bannister had an “impossible” goal. He wanted to run a mile under 4 minutes. This may sound simple now, but until 1954, no one in the history of humankind ever achieved it. Every smart person before 1950 said that it’s ‘humanly impossible’ to run a mile in less than four minutes because many had tried it before, but no one ever even got close to achieving this goal.
However, Roger Bannister did break through this seemingly impossible task. And how did he do it?
He broke his goal into small bite-size, doable pieces and honed his practice by committing to do it almost on a daily basis.
- First, he trained until he could run a quarter mile under a minute.
- Next, he trained until he could run half a mile in two minutes.
- Then, he trained until he could run three-quarters of a mile in three minutes.
- Lastly, he trained until he thought he could run the full mile in less than four minutes.
So, regardless of how big your goal or the commitment is, you can break it into smaller, doable chunks to overcome the barrier of inaction.
Let’s say; you want to exercise daily for 30 minutes. If you’ve never exercised before, this may be very daunting. What if you break this goal into small chunks, that you’ve no excuse not to do it? Starting with “2 pushups a day”, “2 minutes of exercise a day” or anything small enough to get started.
Just Do It
In the great book, A Mind for Numbers, Barbara Oakley talks about procrastination and shares an interesting study.
The researchers took students who hated doing math and scanned their brains. The researchers saw that the students’ pain centres would light up as they contemplated having to do math.
But here’s the deal.
Those pain centres turned off the moment when the students actually started doing the math.
It was the anticipation that was painful. And doing the math? Not so much.
So the “pain” of doing something is much lesser than the pain of waiting (or anticipating). It’s the anticipation of doing something that’s getting you stressed out. So, don’t wait long, just jump in and do it as Nike suggests :-)!
Consistency: The Foundation of Success
The last but the most important component of commitment is consistency. I call this step the foundation of success.
Just having a burning desire and working on that commitment won’t bring any success if you aren’t consistent.
If all you can do is just 5 minutes of exercise a day, and you do it daily, that’s certainly better than an hour workout once a week.
The best human being (PBUH), who ever worked on the earth said, “The most beloved of deeds to Allah are those that are most consistent, even if it is small” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)
So, whether you are committing to do something for the success of this Dunya or the Aakhira, the most important component is consistency!
Implement the Good Because You Deserve the Best
Remember the Hadith of the Beloved (PBUH) as you set your goals and work towards them because everything good must become part of your routine in order for it to really “stick” with you forever. And once it sticks…, well then you’re that much closer to your goal!