Whether in your relationships, work, or personal goals, commitments are not just New Year's resolutions but continuous, rolling endeavors. Here's how to honor them, so you can honor you.
What is a "Commitment?"
Committing isn’t just about saying “yes,” though that is, of course, step one.
Commitments are choices made to pursue the purpose and vision you have in your partnership marriage, at work, or with personal goals.
An unclear commitment is like saying, “I guess I will,” which is vastly different from a wholehearted, “I am fully in!” This distinction is crucial, as it defines our actions and the quality, depth, and longevity of our engagement with others and ourselves.
With your team at work, for example, there’s a profound difference between “I’ll show up and do what I’m paid to do so I don’t get fired” and “I’m working on what matters and passionately bringing my superpowers to the table to impact others.”
Another example is within a romantic partnership. There’s a difference between “I guess it’s time to get married; I don’t want to be alone” and “I love this human being, and I’m going to commit to living the best relationship with them every day.”
Example commitments you may have:
- You might be in a committed relationship.
- You might be a committed parent or custodian/guardian of others.
- You’re likely an employee or committed to your employees and company.
- You may have committed to memberships within your community.
- You may have a personal coach or a therapist, signed up for a self-development course, or watched a documentary to experience a fundamental transformation.
Committing halfway doesn’t benefit anyone. It’s like saying, “I’ll work here for now, and we’ll see how it goes,” versus, “I am committed to contributing my best for the next six months.” The latter is a commitment that brings value and purpose.
So often, we find ourselves caught up in the minutiae of life – social media, emails, trivial tasks, and other distractions – while neglecting what we’ve committed to.
So, what have you really committed to, and are you honoring these commitments?
Courage to Commit
Commitment requires psychological courage. It’s about choosing to honor your commitments, even when it’s uncomfortable or challenging. It’s not about berating yourself for not following through on them but rather recognizing when you’ve become distracted and neglected to prioritize and put energy into nurturing yourself and your choices.
This year, I’m going through a recalibration of what commitments mean to me. It’s not just about making a list of goals; it’s about truly understanding and aligning with them.
I asked myself: What are my commitments? Do my commitments still bring me joy? Do they serve a purpose? Are they genuinely mine, or might they be imposed on me by others?
Scheduling Your Commitments
Commitment requires action. If you don’t act on it, schedule it, and give it energy, no forward movement toward it will occur. The quote, “It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do,” by Jane Austin, is so true.
Staying committed requires courage. It’s essential to revisit your commitments regularly, monthly perhaps. Are they still relevant? Are they helping you grow? Evaluate not with a punishing judgment but by allowing for realignment based on what you’ve learned.
Reflect on your commitments. Why are they important to you? Are they leading you towards something you desire or away from something you fear?
For example, I have a commitment to myself to release an album this year. Toward that intention, I schedule a block of time for songwriting every day and honor it amongst my work and family’s needs. By prioritizing my commitment to music this year and actively carving time for it, I’ve ensured that my actions align with my intentions and will realize an important milestone.
Creating a community of support can be immensely helpful in helping you stay accountable for what’s truly important to you.
For example, when one of my coaching clients sees my face, I am an immediate reminder of accountability and invoke a connection to help her stay aligned with the direction she wants to go. Without me needing to say anything, she automatically knows whether or not she is on track with what she said she would do.
There is no judgment or punishment if you’re off-track. The power of the community and accountability partner(s) is to have people who believe in you for the days you may lose your way (which happens to all of us!)
Believing in Yourself
Every time we succeed or fail to follow through on a commitment, it impacts our belief in ourselves and our words. Our self-integrity, trust, authenticity, self-worth, and self-talk are positively or negatively affected.
The more we complete what we set out to do, the more we can trust ourselves and believe our words. Words without action are just words. Honoring our intentions and words with action is the first step to providing confidence that others can.
By the end of this year, we want to look back with pride, knowing we honored your commitments to yourself and others.
Putting Commitments into Practice
Reengage with your commitments with a more profound sense of purpose and motivation. Understand your ‘why’ behind each commitment. Break them into smaller, manageable pieces if needed, but stay true to them. Change them if you learn a commitment isn’t as important as you thought or needs to be adjusted, and then keep following through for yourself.
As we navigate this year, let’s make it a year of genuine commitment – to ourselves, our loved ones, and our dreams.
- Make your top 3-5 commitments list. An excellent place to start is by identifying where the courage is needed in your life or by revisiting past commitments to evaluate if they’re still essential to you. Look for doable, 1% improvement opportunities.
- Evaluate why each commitment is important to your current and future self. Will it help you go toward what you want or away from what you don’t want (like taking a job for the cash versus taking it with pride and excitement in the work you’ll do)?
- Put your commitments in your calendar, and fit everything else around them.
- Create a community of people who can help you stay on track.
- Revisit your list every month. (Set a check-in time on your calendar.)
- Stay flexible and non-judgmental.
Some people will accomplish extraordinary things that will change the face of humanity. Some will show up for themselves or their family and friends.
In a year, look back and say, “I am proud of the courage of what I honored, one day at a time.”