Unconscious commitments: How to beat patterns that keep you down

Have you ever set a goal and for whatever reason you go about your days and stuff seems to happen that isn’t aligned with your goal? Here's how to stop that now.

Unconscious commitments are deals you’ve made with yourself that you might not even know about—here’s how to beat patterns that are keeping you down.

Have you ever set a goal before, personally or in business, that you have really wanted to achieve but for whatever reason you go about your days and stuff seems to happen that isn’t aligned with your goal?

I’m sure you have—I know I have—maybe you said you wanted to transition fully from being an employee or landing your first paying client, but something keeps getting in the way. Why is that?

One of the reasons is what’s called unconscious commitments. A goal is an external or conscious commitment which simply just means you consciously decide it: I want to have [insert goal.]

A really common goal would be, ‘I want to make $100,000 in the next 12 months inside my coaching business.’ That’s a great goal to have. You may have a bigger or smaller one, whatever floats your boat.

So that’s your conscious commitment—your external commitment.

Now underneath that you also may have an unconscious commitment. That comes from your conditioning and whatever you learned growing up in your family. It will be out of alignment with your conscious commitment.

A lot of our unconscious commitments start really young, and by that I mean seven. You may have the unconscious commitment to not rock the boat. It’s really common. Someone may grow up in a family where things are a little on edge, people got angry, people left, and so maybe the kid decided to make sure they didn’t rock the boat.

Not rocking the boat might have felt really safe, so the kid makes sure they’re always nice, they don’t ask for what they want, they don’t speak up too much or make too much noise.

So this commitment can stay unconscious which just means it’s underneath your conscious awareness and what’s really important to understand is it can drive your decision making.

How does this play out in business?

Say for example you have decided, okay I am going to run my own business, and you are also a parent. So you have to set some boundaries around when you can look after kids but also put some time into the business and study.

Without boundaries it’s going to be crazy, but unconsciously your body is saying, ‘Don’t set boundaries, that’s rocking the boat, don’t ask for what you want.’

What will happen is you consciously set these goals but unconsciously there’s a part of you that is pulling you back, making you play a small game because it’s safe and you’re protected.

And that’s the opposite of what you want when it comes to creating business success.

So you want to become aware of what your unconscious commitments are. Do a little bit of an inventory: what is holding me back? What do I need to change in my unconscious mind?

Play a large game and step into the best version of yourself that you possibly can because nobody—nobody!—benefits from you playing a small game.

It’s only when you shine your light that you give everybody around you the ability to be able to shine their own.


One of Australia's leading coaches, trainers and speakers, and head facilitator at The Coaching Institute. In between mentoring thousands of coaches and leaders all around Australasia and helping others build incredible culture, Matt is passionate about fitness and music. His healthy office lunches whipped up in five minutes are the stuff of legend

Matt Lavars life coaching
Matt LavarsThe Coaching Institute