Keeping My Commitment to Myself — Why Is It So Hard, but So Necessary?
“Why is it so hard to keep my commitment to myself, when I always keep my commitments to others?” That’s what a client asked, and I assured her she’s not alone. I’ve been there myself. However, mindfully contemplating this very revealing question uncovered some deeply held beliefs and, as a result, opened up opportunities for major personal growth, improving her self-esteem and self-leadership skills.
Can you relate? You want to lose weight, but your family likes goodies, so you stock the cupboards with them in mind, knowing it’s going to make it harder on you. Or you want a regular exercise program, but your sister calls and wants to go shopping…oh, well, you can exercise later, right? But that doesn’t happen.
Here are some commitments to self we tend to make and break. What would you add to this list?
- Go to bed earlier to wake up earlier.
- Eat and drink in a healthier manner.
- Work more productively in less time.
- Exercise, in a way you love, regularly.
- Be more mindful and present.
- Journal every day to capture my small wins..
- Be more intentional about what I do and say..
- Stand up for myrself in confrontational situations.
- Develop deeper and more meaningful relationships.
- Follow a big dream.
These are things no one else can do for you. They are promises you make to yourself, but the busyness of life and the requests of others gets in the way. What would happen if we acknowledge that we choose to allow these things to take precedence over our needs and wishes? We take back our power of self-determination and self-leadership!
Yes, we’re being disloyal to ourselves in order to keep commitments with others. Are our family and friends undermining us on purpose? No, they’re unaware. Why? Because we haven’t verbalized our self-commitments to them. This disloyalty to self will reflect in our self-esteem at the end of the day.
Keeping my commitment to myself felt like a radical act.
It took me a long time and a lot of inner work to come to the place where I honor my commitment to myself. If I can do it, so can you! Here are some mindset shifts I made to achieve a balance between keeping my commitment to myself and others.
It’s not selfish to prioritize my needs. I was taught that good girls always think about others first. Learning to be flexible helped me to be balanced. If present circumstances didn’t allow me to care for my needs, I looked for a work-around. It’s not selfish to focus on my own needs, because if I don’t have strength mentally, emotionally and physically, I’ll have nothing to give to others. It’s okay to pursue my big dream and still take into consideration the feelings of others. (Notice I’m referencing needs, not personal preferences. In any relationship, there has to be a give-and-take in the arena of preferences.)
I am worthy of making time for myself. It’s so easy to talk myself out of my commitment to myself by thinking of all the other important things I should be doing. By being flexible, I got rid of the “shoulds” and carved out time for myself. For example, eating breakfast with my honey is important, so when I’d get up at 8 AM all I had time for was getting ready for the day. For a while, I told myself I had no time to exercise. But then I started going to bed earlier so I could get up by 5 AM. Now I have time to enjoy exercise and breakfast with my honey. I believed I was worth the change, so I made it happen!
I don’t have to be perfect. We tend to set unrealistic expectations that lead to disappointment. I learned that focusing on being fully present with each baby step forward allows me to grow at my own pace, while making it possible to zig or zag as my life course takes a twist or turn. There are no failures — just learning experiences.
And I don’t have to please other people. Too often, we don’t act because we worry about what someone else will think. Really? Do you really think they want to keep you unhappy or unhealthy? Why would we want to attribute such thoughts to someone who loves us? If they do react negatively, that’s a reflection on their growth in life’s journey. We all advance at our own pace, and I give them respect as I keep moving forward at my pace.
I’ve learned to embrace discomfort as a sign of growth. If we never push the boundaries of our comfort zone, we’ll stay the same. I want to grow. I want to experience the depths of my understanding and the strengths of my mind and body. So when I feel discomfort now, I get excited and look forward to the new things I’ll learn. (Notice that sometimes discomfort comes from negative or self-doubting thoughts, which need to be redirected quickly.
I achieve more by employing the power of repetition. I’ve developed systems, routines, and rituals that make my life easier. By mindfully executing each one, I’m taking back control; I choose to enjoy aspects of each process.
Something that’s helped me to keep my commitment to myself is taking a Somatic (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical) Wellness Assessment, which is something I offer to all of my readers. Click here to download your free copy. I encourage you to mindfully and honestly discover and honor your most important self-commitments.