When we want to make a change in our lives, whether it is quitting smoking or terminating a relationship, we all go through the same stages. We know this from "change theory" and those stages include precontemplation (not really interested in changing), contemplation (thinking about changing) preparation (or what I call the 'commitment' stage), action (actually making the change), and maintenance (continuous change for six months or more.
I work with many, many people who are in the contemplation stage. Yes, they want to change, but something is holding them back and they just can't seem to pull the trigger. What is that 'something?' When I was a trainer, I called it the 'magic switch.' What is that 'thing' that turns someone into a successful changer?
I believe it is commitment.
The 12-steppers call it their higher power.
You could also call it your higher purpose.
It is THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE of the habit change puzzle.
Without it, there is nothing that is going to keep you on track when you want to veer away from your goal. Willpower isn't enough; you have to find something that will instantly resolve your ambivalence about what you're facing, whether it is an urge to smoke or the lack of motivation to work out.
What is it for you? What is your higher purpose for changing?