Commit to Being Committed


To hold your motivation over the long term requires commitment. Commitment has to do with higher forces—like forward motion, self-expression, and gratefulness—which are infinite and can’t be used up. To stay motivated over a long period of time, you must have a way to tap into these forces.

Almost all parts of human beings are finite, but there is a slice of the infinite deep inside you. You can feel it at work when you wake you up in the morning and get out of bed. It strives endlessly; it doesn’t stop; it keeps trying no matter what. This indestructible part of you that will not quit is sometimes called your will.

But there is something actively working against you—we call it Part X, and it’s the thief of possibility. In our book, Coming Alive, we explain X’s role in making everything you want to do seem impossible. It presents you with a problem (depression, lack of discipline, uncontrollable appetites—it doesn’t matter what the content is) and gives you the message you can’t solve this problem. That’s a lie—there is a solution, but it requires using your will to connect to higher forces, and that takes work. 

The action doesn’t have to be huge or grandiose, as a matter of fact, most of the time it’s within the small actions that you activate this infinite part of yourself. Philosopher Rudolf Steiner had this idea that the largest forces enter your life through the smallest things. Tackling the biggest problems head-on can be overwhelming. Since you can connect to higher forces through even the smallest things, start small. Make a simple commitment and keep it. Even if it’s just to floss tonight or put your socks in the laundry basket. And then do it. It’s not about what you do, it’s that you say you’re going to do it, then you do it.

The most meaningful thing you can do is make a promise to yourself and keep it. You start to feel like you can trust yourself and rely on yourself. This makes everything you do meaningful, in an inner sense. The quest for meaning is the most powerful motivator a human being can experience. For the ultimate description of how meaning and motivation are connected, even in the most difficult circumstances, read Victor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning.


How does one hold motivation for a long period of time? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Phil Stutz, Psychiatrist and coauthor of The Tools and Coming Alive.

Jenn BrownPart X, Commitment