It is common for many people to make New Year’s resolutions to improve themselves. These improvements include losing weight, exercising more, and eliminating unhealthy habits, such as smoking, alcohol, over spending, and clutter. For some people their improvements are to be more mindful, be more spiritual, spend more time with loved ones, and de plug (some) from technology. There are other resolutions, but these listed are probably the ones most prevalent. Perhaps you found yourself and your resolutions here. Unfortunately, what begins as a desire to change January 1 is too often only a memory by February 1. Why?
One reason that resolutions don’t last is that we fail to make a real commitment to change. There is a major difference in a resolution and a commitment. It is easy to fail to keep resolutions. It is much harder to break commitments. The difference between resolutions and commitments, and even plans and goals, is significant. This is not a word game of semantics. A commitment is stronger than a resolution, plan or goal. For real change to occur, especially change in habits that are ingrained in us, requires a commitment.
A commitment is a promise to oneself. A commitment is made with serious forethought. It involves the classic stages of change, including pre contemplation and contemplation, and the acceptance of the loss that will be involved. Making a commitment is a serious undertaking, and should only be done when one has considered not just what will be gained, but what will be lost. One cannot stay the same and change. While this may sound obvious, it is a fact that is often missed when making resolutions.
We should take our time when making a commitment. Commitments should not be entered into lightly. We don’t usually take our time when making resolutions, instead we we get caught up in the revelry of the season. This difference alone is one reason that resolutions are taken lightly, and can be forgotten without much regret. Not true for a commitment. When we fail to keep a commitment, we feel not just regret, but remorse, even guilt. While this can also happen when we fail to keep our resolutions, the degree is greater with a commitment. This is one reason that commitments are less common than resolutions., and why it is easier to break a resolution than a commitment.
So, let’s make commitments to ourselves when we are ready to change, not just at the beginning of a year. But the beginning of a new year fresh with promise can be a great time to make a commitment, if we are ready. And I am!
I made two commitments for 2016, both that I have been considering for some time. One is to use cash for purchases, eliminating credit card debt. The other is to move from consumption to connection, which will involve de cluttering, buying less, and getting rid of much stuff. Note I did not say getting rid of all stuff. I know that I could not keep a commitment that involved getting rid of all stuff. Commitments need to be realistic.
My commitment to move from consumption to connection is due to the inspiration of a new friend, Leah Friedman. Leah has a professional organizing business, Raleigh Green Gables, which has a different approach than others with which I am familiar. Leah’s philosophy is to reduce consumption, and free up space for connection with others. This is a powerful thought, and it connected with me at a soul level.
As I began to prepare for these changes, these commitments, I realized that success in one of these areas will help me be successful in the other. If I am spending less, which I clearly will need to do to pay cash for purchases, I will not be bringing more stuff into my life. If I am de cluttering, I will be more mindful of what I have, and what I need, or more accurately, what I do not need. If I convert that knowledge to action, I will be successful.
As an accountability measure, I will blog on this journey at least quarterly.
As you begin this new year, is there some change that you wish to make? Is it a resolution, or a commitment? I would love to her from you about your journey, and your success.
May 2016 be all that you want it to be both personally and professionally!