Change for Good – the Power of Habit: Decision vs. Commitment
“Change and growth take place only when a person has risked himself and dared to become involved with experimenting with his own mind.” –Herbert Otto
There is one key difference between a decision and a commitment. Commitment is based in passion. Emerson said, “Nothing great in the world was ever accomplished without passion.” While changing habitual thought and behavior may not make one “great”, it certainly requires the same kind of passion that greatness and excellence require.
Decisions are fine for the short term. They help move things forward and keep things productive. Over time, however, the illumination of a good decision will only appear as brilliant as the passion that drives the commitment to carry it through.
In order to stay passionate about good decisions and keep our behavior in check, it’s helpful to be able to remember and re-create the passion that drove the decision to change in the first place. Quite often, we decide to do something differently in order to create a better situation or a better outcome for ourselves. Then, as things begin to improve, we no longer feel the need to be as strict about our initial decision. (No, I’m not making a reference to the European Union, though if one is compelled to apply the notion, I’m confident one might find it applicable.)
As anyone in a long-term relationship may know, it’s not easy to keep the passion alive as the years go by. But when you can remember the passion that sparked the decision to be together in the first place, not just on an intellectual level, but also on an emotional level, your relationship has the best chance for survival.
When it comes to changing for good, sometimes you have to remember how badly you felt, or how passionately you wanted the specific change that drove your decision to change in the first place. Use whatever motivates you to keep that understanding present as you progress toward your goal. My guess is your initial goal was not to settle for something better, but rather to create a specific, successful outcome. Passionate people know that passion doesn’t compromise any more than it settles. Once the intellect decides, action must be relentlessly fueled by passion until new habits are formed and old habits have died [see also Six Steps to Changing a Habit].
I guess I can sum up these two short blogs about breaking old habits and creating new ones with two lines–as clichéd as they may be…
Keep the Faith.
More resources and exercises from Caruso Leadership
If you are serious about making a change, here are a few links to some further reading and exercises: