The picture on the right is how today started… getting myself into my runners and getting outdoors for some morning movement, despite my bed feeling like the more attractive companion.
What got me out of bed though was an idea I want to share with you – and that’s the difference between motivation and commitment.
Motivated, or committed?
You know motivation – it’s what gets you up and at ‘em when you’re feeling pumped, it’s what gets you to sign up for the gym membership, or that new course. It’s pleasure driven – you do it because you’ve connected with something that’s important to you and in that moment you’re gonna go get it.
The problem is, motivation is a flaky bedfellow. According to Prof Steve Peters, author of the Chimp Paradox, motivation is a feeling based on emotions.
And, just like emotions, it doesn’t last. It’s temporary. It comes from your chimp brain – which is a fun, but unreliable companion.
Commitment on the other hand, comes from your human brain. It’s not based on feelings. It’s the bit of you that says, no matter how I feel, I’m gonna follow this plan. It’s what gets you up and out the door for a run, even when it’s cold and raining. It’s what gets you to sit and do those 10 minutes of meditation even when you think ‘ I can’t be bothered’ or I’ve got no time’.
Commitment is what counts
According to Prof Peters, though motivation is helpful, it’s not an essential ingredient for success in meeting your goals. What matters is commitment.
In the last few weeks I’ve been playing around with this idea when it comes to meditation and getting out for 30 minutes of movement before I start my day, and it’s been a really interesting experiment. I’ve been sitting to practice more, and the decision to get up or not get up isn’t really a decision, because if I’m committed, I just do.
So, if there’s a habit that you really want to instill but you’re struggling, it’s worth stepping back and asking, am I motivated, or committed?! It’s a simple idea, but a powerful one.