We’ve all been there: At one time or another, you’ve had a hard time holding yourself accountable for various tasks that need to be done. It’s easy to get distracted by other things that seem more important and it’s super difficult to maintain focus on the task at hand. And sometimes, you just don’t have the energy or confidence in yourself to pick back up and step back into the game. A lot of people often feel as though commitment is something they have control over- but what I learned is that commitment is actually an action — not just a feeling.

Obviously there are things in life where we don’t feel great about doing them, but when you make a commitment with someone else or with yourself, those feelings should take the backseat. For example, I’m a momma of two and my youngest is still little. He wakes up in the middle of the night for feeds. Do I wanna get up all the time to make sure he’s taken care of? Heck no. I love my sleep! But I made the commitment to be his mamma, and so I get up and I do something that’s hard, and maybe doesn’t feel easy at the time.

I’m not saying this is always easy. In fact, commitment can really suck sometimes. Because it means pushing ourselves way outside our comfort zones. But the thing is, when we leave our comfort bubble, that’s where we’re finally able to grow and become better people. This can be anything from a skill we’d like to master, to being a better parent, friend, employee, or CEO. What got us to where we currently are is not going to be enough to get us to where we want to be.

I love this quote by Timothy Keller: “Commitment is a choice that you make over and over again. It’s not just something you do at the beginning of your marriage or on Monday morning.” I think it goes for any commitment, really. You don’t have to feel like you want to constantly commit to things because eventually we form the habits that propel us towards those commitments, and ultimately our long-term accomplishments.

Here are a few ways you can practice keeping commitments, even to yourself:

Get Clear on What You’re Committing and Why.

Choosing your commitments from the beginning is honestly the most important part. You know what you’re capable of, and it’s better to not overwhelm yourself. However, you do want to choose things that will allow you to grow and nurture new parts of yourself. Are these commitments you’re making to yourself in order to work towards a new goal? Or are these commitments you’ve made to other people? If you take on these commitments, what is the outcome for you? Is it worth putting your energy into? It is great to help other people. But if it is coming from a place of people pleasing or other toxic behavior, you could easily get short-changed.

Create a Plan Detailing How it Will Be Accomplished.

Start by listing out any parts that the commitment can be broken into. This allows you to get a sense of what the entire project looks like, and if I can break it into daily, weekly, or even monthly goals. We don’t want to wait until the last minute to accomplish the whole thing! What time is best for each commitment? How much work, sleep, and rest time needs to be scheduled between each one? Planning sets you up for success, and creating simple micro-habits makes harder things seem easier. Then it’s a lot easier to keep commitments.

Start With Easier Tasks First

If you’re feeling stuck, start with the easy stuff first. That’ll give you some momentum to get the ball rolling. One of the hardest parts of keeping commitments is usually just getting started. By starting easy, you’re actually getting one of the hardest parts out of the way! So with one win behind you, you’ll start to feel like you can conquer the world in no time.

In the end, commitment is not just something we do when things feel good. It’s an action that doesn’t always come from a feeling of bliss and satisfaction. But we can pull motivation from the completion of our goals and the outcomes they can bring to us. In fact, they’ll bring us more happiness than the brief amount of time spent doing something we don’t want to do.

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