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By Rita Maulucci (Registered Psychologist)

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.  Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, … that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.  A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”
W.N. Murray, Scottish Himalayan Expedition

Commitment is a pledge to a course of action and it is demonstrated by following through with the conscious choices we make in our lives.  It is giving of the self in a wholehearted way to our needs and wants.  It involves all aspects of our being - our mind, heart and body and it exists in every imaginable undertaking, including the routine tasks of everyday living.  It is the necessary ingredient in adding meaning and happiness to our lives and is the starting point for all-new challenges and endeavours.

Behind all of our successes lies commitment.  Without commitment we cannot make our dreams come true.  Commitment is not a skill; it cannot be given to us, or learnt from a book - it is something that grows steadily from within.  And when we do commit to something, we are really saying, “I TRUST” for commitment is a leap of faith in oneself.

Once we are passionately committed to something, we open our heart to experience joy and fulfilment.  We also open ourselves to risk and hardship.  Being committed can be hard work.  Think of all the successes you have achieved in the various aspects of your life - your work, your relationships, family, social activities - and think about the level of your commitment to those different aspects.  Intrinsic to these successes has been a high level of commitment.

Commitment means believing you are worthwhile in terms of who you are and what you do.  In effect it is about making a commitment to yourself.  To commit to complete this program successfully means you are making a commitment to yourself. 

Elements of Commitment

Before we contemplate committing ourselves to anything (or anyone) it is important to consider the number of ways in which we may demonstrate a complete commitment.  Complete commitment is made up of a number of different elements, all of which are necessary and contribute to successful outcomes.  These elements include:

  • Emotional commitment
  • Intellectual commitment
  • Commitment of obligation
  • Physical commitment
  • Temporal commitment
  • Financial commitment
  • Self commitment

Emotional Commitment

An emotional commitment is one in which our heart is genuinely involved.  It is driven by something you really WANT and desire on an emotional, heartfelt basis.  We have often heard people excuse a failure by saying: “my heart wasn’t in it.”  In the context of this program, emotional commitment is about devoting our efforts because it is something we really want to do. 

Intellectual Commitment

An intellectual commitment means we are committed mentally to something you wish to achieve, eg. “It is a good idea.”  It means our mind plays an active role in staying focussed and thinking positively to keep the commitment current.  In effect we must intellectually agree with what it is we are committing to. 

Commitment of Obligation

A commitment of obligation is one which is maintained by a sense of duty and is not always what we want to do but is a necessary component in making it all work.  Commitment of obligation means adopting the discipline necessary to achieve what it is we wish to achieve. 

Physical Commitment

Physical energy is necessary in all situations - commitment without our physical participation is impossible.  Our body and the physical energy it provides maintain the commitment process.  We need to be physically capable of sustaining the actions and behaviour required for commitment.

Temporal Commitment

Temporal commitment is having the time to participate in our commitment.  If we do not have the time, then there is not much point in making a commitment.  

Financial Commitment

Many commitments - whether they are work related, personal or recreational - require money.  Money itself is not the issue but we must be able to afford and spend money in pursuit of our commitment.  Money is required for most areas of our lives.  


A commitment to ourself is the vital link, which connects all the other elements of commitment.  Self-commitment is derived from our sense of personal worth.  It is not something that happens outside of ourself - it is something we experience internally.  Essentially we make a commitment to our inner SELF and our CAUSE.  Without a commitment to ourself, all the other types of commitment we make to things or people outside of ourself are not possible and other commitments cannot be achieved.

Self-commitment means allowing OURSELF and our CAUSE to have sufficient material and psychological resources to achieve our goals.  For many people, this may be difficult.  People often sabotage themselves by not giving to themselves that which is required to achieve their goals.  An example of self-sabotage is negative self-talk and low self-esteem.  Self-commitment is for many a LEAP OF FAITH and a step forward in their thinking to “I can” and “I deserve”. 

Ultimately, self-commitment is the first and most important step in any endeavour we undertake in our life.  The degree to which that commitment is complete will determine the level of fulfilment and happiness we derive from our life.  As the following quote by John Wooden,

“Nothing will work unless you do.”

Keep in mind that all areas of our life require commitment.  Consider the following:-

  • Interpersonal relationships such as marriage.
  • Family relationships.
  • Friendships.
  • Work and career.
  • Hobbies and recreational pursuits.
  • Goals.
  • Fitness and health programs.
  • Spiritual needs.

Complete commitment is the key to following through with where we want to go in our life.  In fact, without commitment, we can’t really ‘go anywhere’ because there will be no motivation or purpose to go there and we may never reach our potential.  All areas of life require commitment for that life to be balanced, fulfilling and happy.  To move from being uncommitted to committed, we need to be open to change.

More articles:  1 . 2 . 3 . 4 . 5 . 6 . 7 . 8 . 9 . 10 . 11 . 12 . 13