Do you sometimes struggle with keeping commitments you make? I sometimes do, especially when things get a bit tricky. Last night I found myself unable to go to a discussion group that I had committed to attend, last week. I was really tired and was disappointed I had not foreseen it would take me longer than a few days to get over my jet lag.
I felt bad that I had to cancel and was reminded it never feels good when we let ourselves or others down. Rather than give myself a hard time or let myself off the hook by saying 'it didn't matter', I decided to remind myself of some helpful things regarding keeping commitments. So here they are...
1. Set realistic commitments
As I said it may have been more helpful to consider my resources before signing up to attend the group. I did not stop to consider it would take time to get back in the Melbourne time zone. Considering resources like, time, money, and ability are important before committing to do something.
2. Give yourself time before you make the decision to commit
I often think I need to answer a request or suggestion to do something straight away. I forget about respectfully asking for time to consider my resources before making a commitment.
So once I have made a realistic commitment that I can honour some things that help me to keep that commitment include...
1. Tell someone else what I have committed to do.
This can help me to stay on track, motivated and accountable to follow thorough.
2. Things happen that are out of our control and prevent us from keeping our commitment
When we are unable to keep our commitments due to illness or some other unforeseen obstacle it is helpful to have compassion both for ourselves and others. It is never helpful to give ourselves a hard time when things go wrong that prevent us from keeping our promises. We can learn valuable lessons from our life experiences. Remember - 'It's like this now', What is my best response?
3. It never feels good to let myself and others down by not doing what I said I would do.
And it feels great when we have done our best to follow through on a commitment made!!
According to Buddhism, one of the causes for low self esteem and depression issues is not following through on commitments. The other causes of low self-esteem or depression are selfishness and pride. More about this next blog.
By not doing what we say we will do, we create the self perception of someone who is talking rubbish, this causes us to think of ourselves as rubbish. Often we are not aware of this and unconsciously reinforce this unhelpful habit. Remembering that, this is a habit that I do not want to reinforce and that instead, I want to create the perception of myself as someone who keeps their word and is trustworthy, helps me do my best to follow though on my commitments. And, as Gandhi says, "Be the change I want to see"
4. Make it about others.
It is often difficult to do things like commit to a helpful new habit like start a gratitude journal or work on being more patient. But, if we make it about being 'better for others' this can help us with our motivation to keep at it.
We can do things like look after our health so we are not a burden on others, finish this blog to share what may be helpful or refrain from getting angry, so we are easier to be around. Doing our best to help others and be a positive force in the world, and worrying less about ourselves is the secret of our own happiness.
5. Stop justifying, procrastinating and making excuses
Sometimes I could have done what I said I would do in the time I spend justifying my reasons for not being able to do it, or procrastinating about starting.
6. Avoid distractions
Once committed to a task, try to avoid distractions that may get in the way of you completing it. I have to watch my procasta...baking. Balance is required too though. Going too hard at something, without breaks to refuel, can burn us out. Joyful Effort!
Have a great fortnight! Gratitude, Kind Regards and Best Wishes,