What do you typically do when you are not in the mood to keep a commitment? For example, what typically happens if you are not in the mood for a scheduled workout, a meeting at work, or a social obligation? Do you usually bail, or do you usually follow-through anyway?
Each of us will experience moments when we are not in the mood to keep a commitment that we made to ourselves or to others. The way that you handle these situations has a significant impact on your identity, your reputation, and your overall results in life.
In this article, you will learn the strongest way to respond when you are not in the mood to follow-through.
Overcome Your Mood
Several years ago, I decided to start a streak for writing one new article each week. As an author and speaker, this was important to me for two main reasons. First of all, writing each week is a way to generate new content to share with current/future customers and email subscribers. Secondly, writing each week helps me get even better as a writer (which helps be even better as a speaker).
One week, I scheduled my writing block for Saturday afternoon. I had several speaking engagements lined up during the week. I decided to use Monday through Friday to focus on those presentations and some other commitments.
When Saturday afternoon came around though, I was not in the mood to write. My brain was a little worn out from a jam-packed week. It was also a beautiful, sunny day. The temperature was 75 degrees. As I sat down to write, I caught myself looking out the window. I wanted to be outside with friends, instead of inside writing by myself.
The following three steps helped me overcome the fact that I was not in the mood. You can use these steps to follow-through when you are not in the mood either.
Step 1: Remind yourself why you made the commitment.
If you are ever tempted to bail at the last-minute on something, remind yourself why you committed in the first place. Chances are that you thought it would improve your life or someone else’s life in some way.
As for my Saturday afternoon writing session, I reminded myself that weekly writing is essential to my success as a writer and speaker. I also reminded myself why I became an author and speaker in the first place- because of a desire to help others become the strongest and best version of themselves. Focusing on my purpose for writing made it easier to get it done.
If you cannot think of a good reason why you made a commitment, there is a lesson there. You might want to be more careful about what you commit to in the future.
Step 2: Ignore your mood and follow-through anyway.
If you only keep commitments when you are in the mood, your results in life will be severely limited. Even if you are careful about what you commit to, there will be times when you don’t feel like following-through. It is not realistic to expect that you will always be in the mood to honor every obligation.
Why not decide that your mood is irrelevant when it comes to keeping commitments to yourself and to other people?
Without this mindset, how do you know when it is okay to break a promise and when it is not? How can you build trust with other people and with yourself? Is it not simpler, and in your best interest, to decide that you will honor every commitment, regardless of whether or not you are in the mood when the time comes?
Step 3: Analyze why you were not in the mood.
After you do follow-through, ask yourself what you could do in the future to avoid not being in the mood next time. For example, if you were not in the mood to attend a scheduled exercise session, determine why that was the case. Maybe it was because of when you scheduled the workout? Or, maybe it was because you were not excited about the type of workout that you scheduled. If you identify the real reason(s) why you were not in the mood, you can make some changes and be more motivated next time.
As for me, I realized that I should not leave my weekly writing until the weekend, especially when the weather will be nice. These days, I almost always write my weekly article on Monday mornings. At that time, my friends are also at work, and I’m least likely to be tied up with other commitments. I’m almost always in the mood to write during this time-frame. Problem solved.
There will be moments when you are not in the mood to follow-through on commitments to yourself and to others. These commitments could be related to exercise, work, friends and family, or something else.
If you only keep commitments when you are in the mood, you will never come close to reaching your full potential. You will also develop an identity and a reputation for being unreliable.
Next time that you are not in the mood to follow-through, take these three steps to boost your motivation:
- Step 1: Remind yourself why you made the commitment.
- Step 2: Ignore your mood and follow-through anyway.
- Step 3: Analyze why you were not in the mood.
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About the author: Pete Leibman is a consultant, speaker, and author who helps leaders and companies thrive. He is the creator of StrongerHabits.com and he’s the bestselling author of Work Stronger; Habits for More Energy, Less Stress, and Higher Performance at Work. Before writing Work Stronger, Pete worked as an executive recruiter at Heidrick & Struggles, a leadership advisory firm who serves the majority of the Fortune 500. In his free time, he teaches one of the largest group exercise classes in the Washington, D.C. area. He has also competed in the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) World Championships.