How Commitment Works

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Tim Elmore explores the five stages of commitment and explains how to better understand your teen.

Let me ask you a question. How long did your New Year’s Resolution last? Or, based on past failures, did you even make one this year? Most of us fail to keep commitments because we don’t realize how commitment works. We want to move from a “wish” to a “lifestyle” overnight—and it usually doesn’t work that way. The following are phrases we generally experience as we build commitment into our lives.

1. Ideas – We perceive an issue by the way we think about it. This involves our minds.

2. Opinions – We begin to express our preferences on that issue. This involves our emotions.

3. Beliefs – We conclude where we stand on the issue. This involves both mind and emotions.

4. Commitments – We begin to act on our belief. This involves our mind, emotions and will.

5. Convictions – We are ready to give our lives for our commitment. It’s now a passion in our lives.

Let me try to summarize how your teenager may often think. They are sometimes called The Mosaics. They don’t think in a linear manner but like a computer would store information. It is a mosaic menu in their minds. They can live with contradictions; they are overloaded with information and are making decisions earlier than previous generations. Sometimes they are not emotionally ready to make some of these decisions. The vast majority thinks about their future weekly and is trying to figure out their purpose in life. Parents are the greatest influence, over peers, teachers or youth pastors. Many have been pampered and their optimism may make you sick. Their number one goal is education, and they believe one person can make a difference in the world. Almost half are the Influencing style on the DISC test. They want to invest their life in people and change the world.

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