The Power Of Commitment

Mere motivation is often not enough to achieve your goals

Michelle Tucker Kirk has never had a shortage of entrepreneurial ideas, ranging from starting an event planning company to launching a charter school. Among those ideas is her bridal shop, A Beautiful Day Bridal, located in Durham, North Carolina.

“I’ve come up with ideas before, but I’d never acted on them,” says the 30-year-old. “I told my husband that I wanted to do this, and he was like, ‘You’re not serious. You’ve said that about other things before.’” The other business ventures never got past the idea stage because Tucker Kirk never gave them her focused attention. “There were too many ideas in my head,” she says. But this time she put all of her energy into a single goal. “Within 24 hours, I had mapped out an entire business plan.”

Opened in November 2006, the bridal shop was no better than other ideas Tucker Kirk has had, she admits, but her level of commitment toward it made all the difference. A 2001 study by researchers from Michigan State, Cornell, Texas A&M, and Ohio State universities found that commitment is a major factor in achieving goals.

For Tucker Kirk, the determination is exemplified in her willingness to enact her plan even though the shop opportunity was in North Carolina and she lives in Lorton, Virginia. She solves this by staying with her mom in Roxboro during the week and going to Virginia for three-day weekends.

“It is about persistence-when you can keep doing what you’re doing no matter what,” says Atlanta-based life and business coach Cherry A. Collier about the value of truly dedicating yourself to achieve something. “Commitment is being willing to do whatever it takes.”

Are you truly committed to a task?
Check out these five signs to find out.

  • You have stated precisely what you would like to do.
  • You have created a detailed plan to achieve the goal.
  • You have designated a reasonable timetable for executing the plan.
  • You regularly implement steps in a focused manner.
  • You have relinquished all other competing and conflicting ideas.

Increase your level of commitment with these steps:
Commit from within. “Any commitment a person makes has to be for his or herself,” says career coach Cherry A. Collier. “It has to be self-initiated and self-maintained.” You cannot commit to something because a spouse or family member wants you to. And if there is no inner passion for the goal, you’re likely to throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble.

  • Limit the number of goals. One of the benefits of committing to something is being able to give it your focused attention. Working on too many things at once siphons the mental and physical energy required to see each through. Collier suggests committing to no more than three goals per quarter. And remember, goals should not conflict.
  • Create a plan. Setting goals is not enough; you need a plan to get you there. And don’t worry if the plan doesn’t lead you where you thought it would, says Collier. “It’s important for people to have specific places to go,” she adds. “But
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