Welcome to 2022!!
How are you choosing to greet a new year? Does it look like this?
I recently saw this picture posted on someone’s facebook account with a lot of comments by people saying they were dreading coming into the new year. They were worried about what is going to happen. They talked about how they were scared of what was to come. Want to know what my comment was? Here it is in its unedited form… “Nope, I’m throwing the door wide open and marching right on through hoping that it’s going to be awesome ” and the other person’s response to that was “Hell yeah!”
If you’re like me, you’ve likely seen A LOT of these things going on around on the internet about how we are all feeling about going into another year of a pandemic. 2021 has been described as a disaster, a dumpster fire or something best left in the past. 2022 has been depicted as a train on fire barrelling down the tracks as seen here…
While it is true that there is a great deal of uncertainty in the world right now, there are things that you CAN control! One of those things is your commitment to yourself and improving your health.
Today we’re going to look at the word commitment. This article was born of the thoughts while out for a run one morning having just completed some of the pre course work for a physician leadership training program that I am going to be taking over the next few months. One of the things we were asked to complete was something called a strengths assessment. It’s 177 questions where you are given 2 statements, some of which seem to be mutually exclusive, and some which seemed to almost be the same statement worded slightly differently. You have to choose where you fall along a scale between those 2 statements after which you are provided results.
The interesting thing about this is that it shows you not only your strengths, but helps you understand your weaknesses and how you can learn to overcome those things that you might find more challenging. One of my top 5 strengths was responsibility which was broken down to mean “you take psychological ownership of what you say you will do. You are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.”
So the thing we are going to talk about today is the notion of commitment.
There are so many definitions out there of the word commitment such as a “promise to do or to give something”. Another one I found was “the act of binding yourself to a course of action” and yet another one defines it as “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause or activity”.
One of the reflection questions I was asked to consider was “How do you deal with the rare times when you can’t keep a commitment?” So, OK, maybe I’m a weird anomaly or something but I was taught a long time ago not to commit to things I cannot follow through on. I learned to say no, and say it without feeling guilty because I know the feeling of bailing on a commitment would be far worse. If I tell you I am going to be somewhere, my usual answer is “short of death or dismemberment, I will be there”. Where this becomes a problem, is when I wrongly assume that EVERYONE holds this same level of commitment and wonder why it seems so hard for some people not to quit or give up on something when it seems to tough. Maybe for someone else, responsibility falls low on their list of strengths. Maybe it’s one of their weaknesses or areas that needs improvement.
The good news is that there is always room for improvement. For example, I have NOTHING…and I mean NOTHING in any of the strategic thinking, dreaming, future planning, creative “boxes”. My strengths all seem to fall into executing, relationship building and influencing categories. The thing that I have come to learn, however, is that I need to be constantly working on those other aspects where I am lacking. That is why things like writing these articles are so important for me. I am not naturally a writer. I have despised every English literature and writing course I have ever been forced to take throughout my education. I struggle to put together a coherent thought. I struggle to put those thoughts down on paper. Here’s where the commitment part comes in though.
When we started this process of launching a website, we knew we would have to constantly be keeping up on adding new content. I made a commitment to adding a new article or recipe a month. In order to fulfill this commitment, I have to constantly be nurturing my more creative side which is truly challenging for me. Until we began to work on writing content for the site, I had not written anything other than chart notes for over 20 years. Chart notes are easy. They are factual records. They require no creativity (actually, you really don’t want your doctor embellishing notes!) This article writing stuff is hard!!! But I have committed to doing it, so I do it. I have no idea how many people actually read these articles, maybe the person writing is the only person to ever see it. That doesn’t matter! I do it because I have made that commitment and, if even one person other than me learns something from it and it changes something about their lives, the commitment was worth it!
So, the question I want you to ask yourself is “do I consider myself to be a responsible person?” When I make a commitment to someone else, do I bail, am I flaky and irresponsible? Do I leave them waiting? I am the kind of person no one expects to be somewhere or do something? We all know people like that. We have friends that we have always joked that we’ll know they are coming “when we see the whites of their eyes.” One of my friends from high school was late for EVERYTHING! She was certainly not responsible and rarely followed through on her commitments to others. Sadly, she died when we were all in university and starting families. I sat next to another friend waiting for the funeral to start. We waited… and waited… and waited… until, after 45 minutes, this friend finally turned to me and said “I bet she planned this as part of her funeral to be the last time she could show up late and keep everyone waiting.” Seems irreverent, but at the time it was fitting and we were able to spend the next 15 minutes swapping happy stories while we still waited for the funeral to get underway.
If you grudgingly admitted “no” to the above question, the good news is that you can change this. Don’t commit to things without thinking, follow through on the commitments you say yes to as much as it depends on your ability to do so. Start fulfilling commitments you make to yourself!
If you said “yes”, then ask yourself why you can commit to other people but cannot commit to yourself. You are as important as anyone else. Value yourself as such. Don’t bail on yourself if you wouldn’t do that to someone else. Whether you believe it or not right now, you are worth the effort!
SET GOALS…COMMIT…REPEAT…kick the door wide open on 2022 and look back at the start of 2023 and see how far you have come!