For many people, much of life revolves around doing things for others. There is always a child to be shuttled somewhere, a partner to attend to, or a coworker who needs help. For other people, they hit the ground running in life and from that moment it’s a constant reaction to what’s coming at them. Job stresses, money worries, relationship woes. Adult stuff.
I don’t know if it occurs to some of us to check in with ourselves, maybe ever, and ask what we want in life. I think for a lot of people life is a continual response to what’s happening out there, and minimal attunement to what our needs are. We say yes when we mean no, or we overcommit and end up doing things haphazardly. We betray our inner voice, repeatedly, and part of us takes note of that. For whatever reason we have deprioritized ourselves, yet again, like always. Not only does this result in us incrementally losing trust in ourselves, it has a nasty habit of doubling down on itself. We become less and less committed to ourselves and what we want. We stop speaking up, maybe even stop asking what we want altogether. If we ever even did.
If we don’t actively commit to ourselves, whatever that looks like for each of us, life has the potential to eclipse us, to commandeer all the spaces we haven’t claimed for ourselves. But it’s so important to reserve something for us, some space for questions and possibilities. It’s imperative to set boundaries and carve out time for meaningful engagement with ourselves so that we remember to ask what we’re doing and where all this is going.
3 Ways To Be More Committed To Yourself
1. Ask yourself what you want (what you really really want)
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? What do you want your life to look like at those points in time? What kind of person will you need to be now, what kinds of stuff will you need to do daily, to get there? And perhaps most importantly, do you actually want to do those things?
On a smaller day-to-day level, you can always be checking in with yourself and asking the question of what you want. Do you want to go for a run at 6am?
Once the question has been asked, ask it again: do you really want to go for a run at 6am? Get quiet inside and listen for the answer. If you don’t want to do it, then don’t. Commit to doing what you want, as often as you possibly can. There are so many times in life when you don’t have a choice, and it’s not about what you want. Don’t make it even more times by making yourself do things you don’t want to do. You can’t commit with any meaning to things you don’t want to do. At some point you’ll disappoint yourself. You won’t remember that you really didn’t want to do the thing to begin with, all you’ll remember is that you failed. Again.
2. Remember your why
Maybe a 6am run doesn’t exactly sound appealing, but you do want to do it. You want to, because you remember why it’s a priority for you. It’s a lot easier to stay committed to something, and maybe even get excited about it, when you remember why you do it and where it’s going to lead.
When you remember this 6am run will bring you closer to completing your Bucket List Marathon, or it builds on the mental health gains you’ve made so far, or whatever thing it will facilitate in your life, it’s easier. Maybe even exciting?
3. ABC – always be curious (about you)
One of my mentors used to say “remember your ABCs, always be curious”. He meant it in a bigger, whole life kind of context, but I have adopted it as a way to prioritize and commit to myself too. It’s good to be curious about ourselves. What do I want, and why do I want it? What feelings come up when I think about that commitment I made? Am I OK with feeling that way every time I think about it?
By genuinely being curious about your lived experience in this world, you can commit to yourself on a different level. No longer is there a knee-jerk reaction to outside stimuli, a need to go and do and please others. When you remember to be curious, you give yourself the space to inquire within and then act, to choose your action with intention. With curiosity comes questions, and then answers.
With so much going on in life, it’s easy to deprioritize ourselves, but that’s a slippery slope. When we allow life to fill all our free time and energy, we eventually stop asking what we want and what will serve us best. And when we lose touch with what’s right for us, it’s easy to lose trust in ourselves as we begin to make more and more decisions that don’t support our highest intentions or our deepest desires.
But we can become more committed to ourselves when we get clear on what we want, why we want it, and how those things feel to us in the quiet moments. With a strong commitment to ourselves, a partnership forms. Deep trust is the result of any strong partnership, which is an asset in life.
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