7 Steps To Keep Committed To Making A Change

photoHave you ever felt frustrated about failing to keep committed to make a change in your life?

Imagine you’ve decided to start exercising, quit smoking, eat a healthy diet, or change your career path.

And for the first few days or weeks, you are super pumped to make it happen. However, as time goes by, you feel struggled to keep yourself motivated and the old habit gradually creeps back.

Those who make new-year resolutions and fail to keep to it certainly know how it feels like.  A recent study in America suggests that amongst people who make their new year resolutions, one-thirds ditch their vow by the end of January.

If you ever feel struggled to keep yourself committed to making the change happen, here are 7 steps you can take right now:

1. Start with ”Why”.

 First thing first, ask yourself the important question of “Why”: How important is it is for you to make this change happen in your life? How does it fit into the bigger picture? What’s behind the change you want to make?

If you want to change your diet or exercise more, the “Why” may be your health and overall wellbeing. If you want to make a change in your career, the “Why” may be that you want to do something meaningful which aligns with your value and purpose of life.

You may also want to ask yourself about the consequences of giving up: How would you feel if nothing changes in one year’s time?

2. Write down the change you want to make and be specific.

Make it measurable. Don’t tell yourself “I just want to make a change in my career”. Be more specific. Ask yourself: what would you like in the new career – a new role, company or industry? How would you know you have made a successful change? What’s your target date to make it happen?  This will help you identify the specific actions you need to take to make this happen.

And remember to write down these answers. When you write, it helps activate certain parts of your brain, which would otherwise not be activated if you just think about it or even typing it on a laptop (link to the research here).  Writing will reinforce our memory about the goals we are committed to.

3. If you feel overwhelmed by a big change you want make, break it down.

If the change is too big, break it down into smaller steps. If you want to make a career change in, say, two years’ time, set up key milestones on what you would like to achieve within every three months. Research suggests that spreading out new year resolutions over time is the best approach to achieve your resolutions. 

A tired and overwhelmed brain is going to struggle to keep the willpower to focus on what you want. The willpower is inherently limited. Sometimes our big plan fails because the brain is overwhelmed with too many things to do.  When you need the discipline to keep focused and committed to your goals, break it down into smaller pieces to help your brain to keep that willpower.

4. Tell somebody about your plan.

When you have a clear plan on what you need to do, tell somebody about it, be it your family, friends or colleagues.  Write a letter to them, post it on social media (for those who are brave!) to tell them what change you want to bring in your life. Of course you can also work with a coach to support you keep focused and committed.

All of these will keep yourself more accountable for your actions. You will have additional support and encouragement from your “circle of trust” when you feel like giving up.

5. Surround yourself with like-minded people.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Jim Rohn once said. Even though sometimes you may resist it, the environment around you will affect you thinking and behaviour.

Join a community of like-minded people and invite people to join you. You can hold each other accountable for the change they are committed to make.

6. Start taking action and making it a habit. 

Have you ever had the experiences that something is on your mind forever, but you’ve never had the chance to go around and actually DO it?

Thinking does not give you results, taking actions does. Our mind is very good at doing the internal battle and self-talk that stop you from taking action.

Start doing it, right now. Make it non-optional until it becomes a habit. If you feel short of time, ask yourself what you can say no to, in order to say yes to your priority.

Even if it is a small action towards achieving your goal, do something today that your future self will thank you for.

7. Celebrate your success 

Sometimes it is easy to forget how far we have come. You can be your own worst critic and belittle the achievements you have worked so hard for.

Treat yourself, keep an “achievement” diary, or share your success with your friends. It will keep you motivated and take you further.

Reward yourself for the efforts, not necessarily the results.  We have control of our efforts, but not always the results. If you have done all you can, reward yourself at each milestone, even if you haven’t yet seen the final results you’d expect.

Now it is your turn. What are your top tips to keep yourself motivated and committed to making changes happen in your life? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

With love,


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