Why is it that we work so hard for others and not for ourselves? When there’s an expectation of completing a task or a project for someone else it is easier to push ourselves to get something done and we are way more likely to work hard to complete it. When someone is depending on me, it gets done. I don’t even have to worry about it as a goal.
When it’s just us, there is no one to approve or be thankful or be appreciative. But, what if we were thankful and appreciative and approved of ourselves? What if we could count on ourselves? What if there were many counting on you, you just don’t know who they are yet? What would we do differently?
I started to think about how I might start to think about my personal commitments differently and, of course, I thought, I need to gather more data. I need to know what are the factors that contribute to whether I keep my promises to myself or not.
I decided to experiment.
I bought a calendar, that I have called my self integrity book, and it is solely for tracking what my personal commitments and goals are and whether I keep those commitments to myself. I am tracking my self-integrity by setting daily tasks for myself towards a big picture 90-day goal and tracking whether or not I complete the task. Some days I get 11/11; some days I get 3/9 and some days I get 0/12. There are some things that I am noticing about why some days are better than others:
- Contrary to other goal setting recommendations. The goal cannot be too realistic to get done within one day. And, there needs to be more tasks coming the next day. If it looks like it’s totally accomplishable, it’s almost as thought it is not registered in my brain. My brain says, “there’s not much there, I can totally do that tomorrow. Go to bed.”. There needs to be enough there for my brain to say, “Ok let’s get this done because there’s more to do tomorrow and we don’t want to get behind.”
- There have been many times when having this list has encouraged me to do the tasks that I have written down for the day, even when I am tired and even when I have already put a full day in. I would often continue working when working on deadlines for others and creating this tension for myself and sense of commitment towards myself has helped me to stay committed just as I would to anyone else.
- There are days when there is a change in plan and I am not able to follow through with my commitment and I need to acknowledge and be gentle with myself on these days. Maybe my daughter is sick or suddenly groceries, laundry and the kitchen all need to be done in the couple of hours that I have designated to accomplish my commitments to myself. However, I feel like if we make this choice consciously and we know the consequences I can be compassionate with myself. The most important thing is to get back on track and keep going. I’ve started just adding those tasks to the next day and reorganizing them to ensure that they get done.
- Having these personal commitments have encouraged me to ask for help. Knowing that I need to complete my commitments to myself has resulted in me asking for help more. I am carving out more time to get my commitments complete.
- I’ve stopped calling the to-dos on my list “tasks” and started calling them “commitments”. I am a strong believer in the power of words and this slight tweak can change how we view what we are doing.
Being more committed to myself and what I need to get done is definitely a work in progress.
How are you developing your self integrity? What are the ways that you keep your personal commitments?
I would love to hear from you and your stories. Email me at support@melissaEanders.com