6 years ago I made a commitment I will honor for the rest of my life. You may be thinking – “that is a pretty bold statement!” How many things are there in life that you would be willing to say “I will NEVER do that for as long as I live.”? Are you ready to hear my commitment? Here it is….

“I will never drink Mountain Dew for the rest of my life.”

Are you disappointed with the trivial nature of my commitment? Allow me to provide some background. Those who knew me in a prior life can attest to my love for this sweet, citrus-based carbonated beverage. I could literally drink it all day long and loved this beverage as much as a human being could. My employer could have used it to negotiate lower compensation in return for a Mountain Dew dispenser in my office. To family and friends it became part of my identity and people could guarantee my happiness by having it available at parties.

On a positive note, I financially supported my dentist’s lifestyle through regular cavity and crown work! Seriously, Dr. TouVelle is an awesome dentist and repeatedly reminds me that soda, chips, and crackers are the enemies of the tooth. Mountain Dew is notoriously known as Public Enemy #1.

During the spring semester of 2009 I was teaching a class at St. Ambrose called “Achieving Personal Goals” and was trying to impress on my students the importance of following through on a commitment. One of the tools we can use to help us keep our commitments is to endure very unpleasant consequences in the event we fail. I made a snap decision before class one day that I would teach by example.

I stood before the class that day and promised I would never drink Mountain Dew for the rest of my life. My students looked at me with skepticism because they saw me regularly drinking it. In short, they didn’t believe me.

I followed up my statement with the words, “If you ever catch me drinking Mountain Dew, I will give you $1,000.” I’ve never seen a class become so excited! The students were convinced they had just figured out a way to make some quick cash . It would be easy to catch Dr. Byrne in a weak moment – he won’t be able to resist the temptation for long. Before the next class two students set cans of  icy cold Mountain Dew on my desk.

Was I scared of breaking my commitment and forking over $1,000 to multiple benefactors? Not in the least – that is why I made such an over-the-top commitment. There is no way I will ever pay anybody $1,000 so I can enjoy a Mountain Dew. Do I miss it? Yeah. Is it that big of a deal? Not really.

So today I am in my 6th year of being Mountain Dew-free. I’ve asked myself on a number of occasions – what else would I like to “force myself into never doing again”? I’ve found a formula that works for me – a $1,000 punishment/fine. This post is motivating me to commit to another life time change – expect to see something in an upcoming post.

So, back to you. What is your ‘Mountain Dew’ albatross you want to get rid of in your life? Identify it and make the consequences so severe that you won’t even consider violating your commitment.

Success is making and following through on your commitments.