The very word “commitment” can be either scary or a comfort. It can be both hard and easy to do. It can be a burden or self-fulfilling. With just one word, so many feelings arise usually based on whether you are doing the committing or are the receiver of a commitment.
Now you may think I’m talking about marriage since I’m a florist, but I’m speaking about a broader scope and more precisely about commitments to one self. It is easier for us to make and keep commitments to others. It’s completely different when we do so for ourselves. Just think about it…what is a New Year’s resolution but a commitment to yourself? Also one that is easily broken…usually within the first month. We are quick to push our own needs, wants, & desires aside for another, whether that be a child, spouse, good friend…or sometimes in my case a good book.
This is not a new concept to me. I know I put some of my own commitments on the back burner if I really don’t want to be bothered by them. It’s probably my number one topic with my therapist. So what made me sit down and write this blog post about this subject and not flowers? Simply stated, my best friend.
The other night I was having dinner with my bestie from high school. Literally we met in 9th grade and had every class together. We were bound to be best friends or enemies…luckily friendship won out. Anyway…that was many, many, many, moons ago. Here we are in our late 40s and both of us are working on changing our careers. She has the most gorgeous voice and sings with operas and philharmonics. Jealous! However, she’s cut back on that and is focusing on her first love…writing. Something I know she will excel at because she is a super talented writer. Again, jealous!!
So, as I was saying, we were sitting after dinner (finishing our wine) and she said how she had writer’s block and that she sat staring at the computer for two hours the day before. She has been struggling with a certain part of her novel, which she had abandoned for a while and wrote some short stories, and that just yesterday morning she finally realized that part of the book would have to be scrapped and reworked. She was thrilled with that, because it finally gave her some movement on the project. This led us into discussing the fact that she commits (there’s that word again) to writing two hours every day. So for two hours every day she sits in front of her computer and writes…or as in the case the other day…staring at a blinking cursor.
This is what I pulled from our conversation. Her commitment to herself and her writing is to put aside two hours every day…no matter if it’s productive or not. Had she not sat with writer’s block the day before, she may not have given herself the OK to scrap part of the story that isn’t working. Therefore, the novel would be at a standstill. I bet if I spoke with her today her two hours were probably really productive.
I like that her commitment was a bit vague. I think sometimes we get a little too detailed (at least I do) and then when one thing goes wrong we scrap the whole idea. Her commitment to write for 2 hours every day is an easily reached goal. She could have committed to writing 25 pages every day. Totally unreasonable and tightens the parameters of her commitment, which would lead to feeling like a failure or have her abandoning the entire novel not just a section of it.
OK, so what does that mean for me? As I’ve already stated, I know this is an issue for me and I’ve been working on it and things have been better. I know I have to find things that support my commitments and in some ways makes them easier for me to deal with on a daily or weekly basis. Calendars are a big help for me. If it is on the calendar, then it’s a little harder for me to push is aside. Take for example about 3 months ago, I signed up for a new gym (mind you I’m still paying for 2 that I don’t go to). Not only do I just really like this gym but also I can sit down for the week using an app and schedule all my work out sessions with the trainer and they link to my calendar. Now when someone asks me to do something on that day, I know that I’ve already committed to a training session. I’ve tried using a calendar for my working out on my own…but it hasn’t worked well. I won’t cancel a training session because I don’t want to inconvenience the trainer, but there is no one I’m inconveniencing if I don’t go for a walk…well except myself. BOOM! There we have what I’ve been writing about all along. It is easier to say “no” to myself then to someone else.
Now…to apply my AHA moment. What should it be? I want to make a commitment to help with my career and one a bit more personal.
Business: I’m going to set aside 2 hours twice a week to work on building the business. That could be social media, advertising, strategy, floral designs etc. Prior to this, I had committed an undisclosed amount of time on Tuesday evenings for social media (mostly blog writing). As you can tell from my lack of posts that this just didn’t work.
Personal: I’m going to take 20 minutes every morning just to focus on me (with no electronics), to think about what I can do for myself every day that is healthy for my body and my mind. What will I eat for that day that is healthy and good for me? When will I fit in some exercise? Am I just so exhausted that I’ll need to schedule a nap after work? Maybe it’s that time of month and I know I’ll be on the “see food” diet that day so I better stock up on pretzels & chocolate. The point of that 20 minutes is to have “me” time.
That is a total of 6 1/2 hours per week I’ve just committed. Since this is almost the beginning of September, I’ll commit to you, dear reader, that I will write a follow up blog at the end of September that will let you know of my progress. And by committing to you, guess what? I’ve supported my own commitments. Yay!
Have you made a commitment to yourself that has or hasn’t worked? Want to make a commitment to yourself but just haven’t done it? I would love to hear about it!
PS: I wrote this blog last week, but wanted to run it by my friend first, so I am about a week into my commitments. So far things are going really well and I’m really enjoying my 20 minutes to myself more than I thought I would. The photos above were part of the time I spent on business matters.