Doug and Lynn Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

“Do you have two feet in the boat?”

Another question for you is, “Are you all in?”

This brings back memories for us. Years ago, we were in a business where partners asked that question.

What are we really asking you? Here’s another story that may help clarify. This story is about people who are trying to take off from a dock and they have one foot in the boat and one foot on the dock. Being in that position, how far do you think they could get? With one foot in the boat and one foot still on the dock, they are stuck. So, then we ask them, “Do you have two feet in the boat?”

It’s probably clear now that, when two feet are in the boat, they can take off and sail on a journey to reach their desired destination. The same applies to you.

You may have guessed that these stories are about commitment. Commitment will help you get what you really want for your life. So, let’s look at ways to stay committed so that happens.

Organizational psychologist Benjamin Hardy feels that how you see yourself is critical to bolstering commitment. Hardy said, “Your input shapes your outlook, and your outlook shapes your behavior.” We realize that families sometimes give input that shapes our outlook as we grow up. We may believe this input. Sometimes the input is positive, but when it’s not, it can have negative long-term effects on how we see ourselves.

So, to make a positive change, we must see ourselves positively. Research shows we are constantly thinking and giving ourselves messages. We hope that messages you input are positive. We must drop the negative input that we heard in childhood like, “You’ll probably be overweight because our whole family struggles with weight issues.” Replace negative messages with positive reframes such as, “I know I can control my eating and activity, so I can be slim and fit.”

We believe, and research shows, that it takes some investment to foster commitment and attain goals. Investing in your future self may show up in several ways. People sometimes see that they’re at a pivotal moment and they use bold behavior to make a decision where there is no turning back. It may be by investing in training or education and putting in time to increase knowledge and skills. It may also be by purchasing inventory and supplies to start a business. The change may mean investment of time, energy and sometimes finances.

To become fully committed, it’s important to visualize and believe in your future self, right now. For example, if you are committed to losing weight, start seeing yourself now as slim and healthy, and act accordingly. When you change your identity in your mind, your behavior will follow. Some people even invest in clothes that are smaller and then do what’s needed to be able to fit in to them.

Former Harvard business professor, Clayton Christensen, pointed out that “100% commitment is easier than 98% commitment.” Here’s why. It’s because if you are not totally committed, you are facing “decision-fatigue.” Think about what happens if someone is battling an addiction to some food or drink and they go out to eat with someone. They see what they’re trying to avoid and then they must decide – do I eat it or drink it, or don’t I? There’s a battle that goes on in the head. See how 100% commitment is easier? There’s no tug-of-war because the decision is already made.

Now it’s time to act on your committed plan. It may be a bold step which will force you to keep going or maybe it needs to be smaller steps that fit with your lifestyle. Also, an accountability partner can help you keep going. As you move forward with commitment, here’s a popular quote shared by many, but first attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. “Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to fall back. The moment that one commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

To commit and reach your goals, here’s a summary of the suggestions we’ve highlighted today: Decide what you want. Then invest in yourself, use bold behavior, stop negative messages, visualize your future self, and take action so your Higher Power and the universe can come alongside to help you. Remember, 100% commitment is easier!

What about you? We encourage you to use the suggestions here to help you carry through with your commitment to live your best life.

Chanhassen residents Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at More information and videos at