So What’s Stopping You?
We all want a lot of things in life: great relationships, great careers, great money, great health, great sex, great fun… basically we all just want great lives. But then why is it, if we all want basically the same things, that so few of us actually have what we want in life at the levels we want it?
I have a theory about one of the reasons why… It has to do with commitment. That’s right it has to do with how we commit to things; the actions we take or don’t take. According dictionary.com commitment is: “a solemn promise or agreement to do or refrain from doing something.” Or more simply put: An agreement to do or not do something. Consider that definition for a moment.
On the surface it doesn’t seem like such a big deal – you either agree to do or not do something. But when you dig a little further into that and think about how it applies to what you have and don’t have going on in your life right now, you might realize that you have a bigger issue with commitment than you first thought.
For most people when they hear ‘commitment’ they think of it from the context of a long-term relationship. That’s a pretty common connection to make but I think in this case that perspective will take us away from looking at what’s really going on. So for the sake of this post, we’re taking commitment out of the context of long-term relationships and putting it into the context of your whole life – all areas!
In an effort to make this concept a little more clear, let’s start here:
Over the last few months’ commitment has been a common topic of conversation in both my personal and professional worlds. This has caused me to look at my life and examine the gap between what I say I’m committed to having versus what I actually have as results. It became very clear that my actions didn’t always align with what I said I wanted and if I actually did want those things, my behaviours were going to have to change – or more specifically my commitment to taking the effective actions had to change.
As I’ve been looking at commitment and how I relate to it in my life, a relatively consistent pattern has surfaced. It turns out thus far I haven’t really been committed to very much in my life except being halfway committed to the things I say are important to me.
I started to see that the way I held the word commitment was pretty lightly. I didn’t really get the “solemn” part of the definition. I think the way I had identified commitment was something like: I’ll follow through if I can. That might translate to “I’ll do my best.”
Somehow, in my mind, saying “I’ll do my best” let me off the hook of being responsible for the outcome of whatever it was I said I was going to do.
For me, this half-assed way of being was pretty pervasive in every area of my life. My fitness – I was really committed to working out when my jeans were starting to get tight however when it was Christmas, a birthday party, or any day of the week that cookies were on the table all of a sudden my level of commitment went out the window.
I’ve been committed to following a budget until a hot pair of shoes was on sale.
I’ve been committed to people until they hurt me, and then it was game over… annnnnd that’s not how committed relationships work. You have to have space for people to hurt you and then you forgive them – provided it’s not a pattern of disregard and disrespect.
I was committed to following my dream until the road got rocky or hard to see. Then I’d find the next shiny object and focus on that.
In having this awareness become painfully visible for me, I decided to take stock of what I want in my life and what I’m willing to do to get it.
This has completely transformed everything for me. It has transformed my relationships with a number of the important people in my life. It has changed the way I do business. It has completely changed the way I treat my word and the promises I make to people.
I invite you to consider that whatever you have (or don’t have and wish you did) in your life is a direct reflection of what your relationship to your commitments are.
If you want more money and don’t have it, look to see what you’re actually committed to. It might be that you’re more committed to taking the easy, predictable road instead of taking some calculated risks to create more opportunities for yourself. Or maybe you’re just more committed to new shoes than saving.
If you want a passionate or powerful relationship yet find yourself consistently single or hanging with mediocrity, consider that you’re actually committed to something other than passion and powerful. You might be committed to playing it safe or protecting your heart than getting out on the court and playing the game.
If you want a deep connection with friends and family however often feel like an outsider or like people don’t really understand you, just take a look at where you might actually be putting your ‘commitment energy’.
If you start checking it out, you might find you’re more committed to things like looking good, being right, being safe, not getting hurt, etc. etc. etc. And if you’re looking to live a fulfilling life and play a big game, you won’t get what you want if you don’t strengthen your relationship to commitment.
Where do you start?
1) Do a quick inventory of your life and see where there is a gap between what you say you want and what you actually have.
2) Get really honest with yourself about what you know needs to happen to achieve the things you’ve said you want. Look to see if you’re doing those things. If you’re not then you have to ask yourself: Are you even WILLING to do those things?
3) If you’re willing to do the things you need to it will be imperative that you create a clear structure to get you taking those steps. Any goal without a plan is simply just a nice idea.
4) If you’re not willing to do those things, you may need to have some tough conversations with yourself and others to clean up the impact of your broken commitments.
5) Get yourself in action. Change only happens through intentional and consistent effort – even when you don’t feel like it. That’s what being committed is all about.
You deserve to have the life you dream of so get out there and make it happen!
You have the power!
Until next time,
How’re You Doing?
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