Provision #110: Make a Commitment

LifeTrek Provision

Yesterday we took the time, along with millions of Christians around the world, to remember the Innocent One who submitted to death, even death upon a cross, so that others might live. Jesus knew that he was in deep weeds with the governing authorities. He also knew that the people wanted a strong leader, who would get the Romans off their back, rather than a suffering servant, who would attend to the mysteries of life.

In other words, Jesus knew that he was in trouble from above and below. He also knew that going to Jerusalem, the seat of power in his neck of the woods, would bring things to a head. It’s one thing for a backwoods prophet to stay in the backwoods. It’s an entirely different thing to be in your face, on the steps of the White House (so to speak). Jesus knew full well that he was taking his life in hands.

Nevertheless, we’re told in a wonderful turn of phrase that Jesus “set his face” to Jerusalem. Eugene Peterson says that he “gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey” (The Message). We would say he “made a commitment.” Immediately after making this commitment, people expressed their desire to go with him. When he observed that it was going to be a pretty rough road without fine accommodations they started making excuses, one after another, as to things they had to take care of first.

What’s your excuse? Change is difficult, whether it’s going from Galilee to Jerusalem or to any other worthwhile destination. In recent weeks we’ve talked about the things that support change: Minding your Body, Mustering your Reserves, Modifying your Environment, and Monitoring your Behavior. But none of those things will make the change for you. In the end, you have to want it • you have to want it badly enough to make a commitment.

That’s when coaching works best: when a person recognizes a gap between where they are and where they want to be, and when they want to close that gap badly enough to make a commitment. Retaining a coach is one sign that a commitment has been made. But there are other signs as well.

First, write it down. Make it plain. Whether you do it on paper or on the computer doesn’t matter. Writing it down does. Study after study has revealed that people take written commitments more seriously. Why do you think people have to sign a marriage license? Because marriage is intended to be a lifelong commitment and signing a marriage license is one way to drive that point home. Most serious commitments are written down in one way or another.

What do you want to change? Write it down. Perhaps you want to reach for a particular goal. Write it down and the steps you’ll take to get there. Perhaps you want to eliminate some things that you’ve been tolerating for far too long. Write them down, along with a plan for their prompt resolution.

Second, tell someone. Tell anyone who will listen (without making yourself a bore). When you spread the word about what you’re trying to do, people can offer support as well as accountability. Many people fail to tell others about their commitments because they know the pressure will increase to reach those commitments, to take them seriously, and to follow through.

Runners have long recognized that it’s easier to get up early and run if you know someone is waiting for you at the corner. That’s taking the second principle one step further. Don’t just tell someone, recruit them to join you on the journey. Change can be fun when there’s a group of persons all pushing and working in the same direction. If you can’t think of anyone to recruit, then allow yourself to be recruited. Figure out the logical affinity group for your particular pursuit, and get yourself connected. Change will come before you know it.

It is particularly important to tell the people in your immediate household and to recruit their support. Changes are often undermined and sabotaged by well-meaning but misguided people. Guide the people to whom you are most connected regarding the changes you seek to make. Tell them how they can provide you with the assistance you need. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be afraid to fail. We all have changes we want and need to make. Everyone’s in the same boat. When we make a commitment, and start pulling in the same direction, the inertia is overcome and the momentum for real change is built. Feel free to send us an E-mail or give us a call (757-345-3452) if you want to get serious about change.

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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

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