Why Set Commitments?
Well, if you really want to create something or change an aspect of your life, say your habits around food or creating a daily meditation practice, it’s likely not going to happen just by itself.
Frankly, chances are that if you don’t set a commitment and use the powerful force of your desire and intent to create it and act on it, you will likely find yourself going back to old patterns after a while(if you even made it to the first day).
So a commitment can be an incredibly fun, engaging, and helpful tool for you to use to create the life that you want, the habits that you want, and to become a master of how you live your life.
A big part of learning about how to effectively create commitments is to stumble back and forth between the very helpful and the extremely unhelpful forms of commitments. The latter being a distortion of what a commitment really is.
Another cool aspect of commitments is that you get to practice all your skills! Your hunter, dreamer, and artist skills are all going to come into play when you create commitments, especially in the more challenging ones!
A quick google search finds the definition of commitment the following: “the state or quality, of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.” For our purposes here, we will use this definition, but you will get a better sense of it as we go along.
A few questions this series of articles will address are:
How do I set commitments?
What is an effective commitment structure?
What are some challenges ahead and how do I navigate them?
How to deal with self-judgments when you don’t keep your commitments
How to make commitments fun and not feel like a chore.
A commitment is a conscious act of creation.
The first step in setting a commitment is desire. You have a desire, an inspiration, a wanting. It might have come from a movie or video that you watched or maybe from a friend or mentor.
A desire can also come from suffering, you experience suffering and want to learn how to change it, which is also a form of wanting for yourself.
A commitment can be an act of creation, but it can also be an act of removal and destruction. An example of that is letting go of old unhelpful habits such as smoking, overeating, etc…
Whether your desire is for a huge dream or just a plain normal commitment such as cleaning your workspace every day, if you followed through on it you likely created a commitment.
After that initial desire kicks in, a decision starts being made. For example: “John has the desire to have a more organized room and so he decides that from now on, he will take action to make his room be better organized.“
A quick tip: To make that initial decision more powerful and concise, I suggest writing it down on a post-it note and sticking it somewhere you can see and look at it every day.
After that decision kicks in, the next helpful step where people often fall is to be specific. Being specific about how you are going to follow through on the commitment and take action on it is very important in committing a success.
The easiest way to follow a commitment is to create a simple routine that you can follow through on every day. Brushing our teeth in the morning, showering every day, are easy commitments that we have successfully maintained for a long time!
In John’s example, it can look like this: “John decides that he will invest 15 minutes of his time every morning at 9:00 am right after waking up, showering and eating breakfast to clean and organize his room”.
The next helpful step for John will be to write a post-it note to remind himself of his commitment and put it somewhere he can see, as well as writing it down as a reminder on his calendar. These small steps may not look like much, but they add to making sure John remembers and follows through on his commitments.
Make commitments, simple, specific and time-bound
This is a simple structure for creating a commitment, and simple is good. One good thing to keep in mind is that a commitment is not a death sentence. If John wants to change it from 15 minutes to 10, remove it entirely, or make any other change, he certainly can. What I suggest is to make the change a conscious process and to include timeframes for the length for which you plan on keeping the commitment.
For example, John can decide to keep his commitment for a month, then review it again and see how he wants to move forward from there. That way his commitments stay flexible and relevant to ongoing life changes. Have fun with your commitments, make them helpful and relevant for you.
For a pretty small commitment, this seems easy enough. For other commitments around things that we are more attached to, such as around food, smoking, or any other old habit you tried to change for a while but simply couldn’t, things can be much more challenging. This is where the self-mastery tools can come in handy.
I'll cover more about those in the next few articles.
For now, if you feel a wanting to create something new for yourself and have an idea of something simple and small you want to commit to, go ahead! Use the simple principles in this article and put theory into practice.
In lovingkindness, Daniel❤️.