Learning is Required.As we move quickly toward the season of New Year’s resolutions, I’m moved to write about commitment.

In my last very personal post, I shared my recent experience with open heart surgery as a metaphor for how, at certain points in our lives, we find opportunities to hit “reset” on various aspects of our lives, to create new beginnings. These change moments can be inspiring and feel incredibly positive. However, without commitment, new beginnings can fizzle out fast.

I also noted in the last post that pain – physical or emotional – is often the driver of tough decisions and change. However, once we decide to change something, it doesn’t mean it will be easy from that point on. In fact, often the decision to change is comparatively easy when actual, permanent change requires unwavering commitment over time – throughout the course of a lifetime!

It’s easier to commit to change long term if you recognize it as a choice! Our choices – large and small — are under our control. Then, it is our willingness to be clear, self-aware and responsible about our choices that leads to the sustainable change we want.

So, when you make your resolutions this year, consider that they are purposeful choices. Understand what they will mean to your life. Say what you mean, mean what you say, keep these promises that you make to yourself. The quality of Your life depends on it.

If you want to lose weight, if you are ready to stop killing yourself with cigarettes, if you want to be more physically fit, get training for some skill, earn an educational degree, play an instrument, improve an important relationship with a significant person in your life or any other goal, you need to make a conscious, committed choice to pursue that objective.

If you get scrupulously clear about what you really want, you’ll be positioned to make a solemn commitment. Then, find the resources or guide you need and reaffirm your choice one day at a time, one moment at a time when necessary — especially when fear, pain, frustration or laziness creep in! Everyone can do that when it’s easy, but real change happens when you keep moving ahead through the tough parts!

I’m extending my own new beginning by committing to lose the weight I gained when angina kept me inactive. I will get truly lean again – commitment has me nearly there and I’ve resumed an active lifestyle that includes exercising regularly – forever. Is it easy? Hell no! Especially in this season of endless food and drink temptations. But each day that I see the scale move down or my physical strength increase, I’m able to renew my commitment and continue pursuing my goal of a permanent healthy lifestyle change.

So can you. Keep in mind that when you commit to your choices over and over, you’re giving yourself a gift that keeps on giving back to you!!!

Happy New Year!

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Jeff Levine

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