My wife and I are working with a number of people who are trying to change for the better. Their goal is to become more productive, draw closer to God and get to the point where they can help others. Many of them are fighting addictions.
Improvement is only possible through change. As we help them to change, we give them commitments to keep. Those commitments include associating with people who will lift them, reading, evaluating, changing habits and praying. Even with the best of intentions, some continue to stumble, but stumbling is OK if they get up and continue forward.
Most of our societal problems are the result of people following the mantra of the 1970's, "If it feels good, do it." Some were never taught or they consistently chose to avoid anything that required effort, sacrifice or self-restraint. Following the path of least resistance led them to a life of mediocrity or to the dark world of addictions
Commitment issues are not exclusive to overcoming addictions. Many people avoid doing difficult things and have suffered the consequences. Common commitment problems include homework, chores, marriage, diets, job assignments, money management, exercise and charitable kindness.
As employers, parents, friends, coaches and counselors, we can help those with commitment issues if they are willing to do their part. The following ideas will increase the likelihood of success.
Steps to help others make and keep commitments
1. Explain what they are supposed to do, in detail
They need to understand the commitment before they can keep it.
2. Challenge them to commit to the task
If they have questions, answer all of the questions and challenge them again.
13. Encourage them to surround themselves with supportive people and lose the friends with whom they shared their addictions.
Since "birds of a feather flock together," they need a new flock.
14. Counsel them to ask God for strength
God will help anyone who is trying to become a better person.
15. Don't give up on them
Most people fail initially when trying to change. They are not used to keeping commitments because it is difficult. With time, those who are truly motivated will be successful.
If we, as employers, parents, friends, coaches and counselors want to help others, we must be committed to them and committed to being better people ourselves. Then, as WH Murray said, "Providence moves too. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." Our lives and their lives will be richer, healthier and happier.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Roger Allred's blog. It has been modified and republished here with permission.
Roger and his wife Sue have nine children and 21 grandchildren, so far. He has worked in many different jobs and in many different positions including a COO of a health care company, a teacher, the CFO of a feed mill, a CPA and the CEO of a power plant. In 2011, he received a heart transplant. In 2012, he and his wife hiked 60 miles in 6 days and summited Mt. Whitney to celebrate their 60th birthdays and the first anniversary of Roger's heart transplant. Roger currently works as a management consultant.