If you want a deep awareness of your commitments, look at your identity and behavior. Both reflect your commitments. With that knowledge, you can then choose new commitments that better serve you.
Consider this: If you often spend quiet time in nature—a behavior, you are committed to spending quiet time in nature and consider yourself a nature lover—an identity. If you eat ice cream every night, you are committed to eating ice cream nightly and think of yourself as an ice cream lover (or an emotional eater). If you smoke daily, you are committed to smoking and identify as a smoker. If you write daily, you are committed to writing and see yourself as a writer. And if you work out every day, you are committed to your health and wellness and identify as a health-conscious person.
When you realize that your identity and behavior accurately reflect your commitments, it’s easy to recognize what you are committed to, is it not?
So, take an accounting of your most frequent behaviors. What are you committed to? And what identity do those actions align with? (Be honest.)
Commitment is an emotionally-charged topic, and many people claim to be commitment-phobic. Yet, they commit to things all the time. As a matter of fact, the people who will say, “I won’t commit,” are already committed. They are committed to not committing.
Similarly, if you say you don’t want to change, you’re committed to staying the same. Of course, you might claim you want things to be different. Still, your commitment to staying the same is greater than your commitment to transformation.
You might say you are committed to something, but, in fact, you are more committed to something else. For example, let’s say you claim to be committed to your marriage. However, your wife has a hard time connecting with you after you drink your nightly two glasses of wine. Therefore, she’s asked you to cut back or stop drinking, but you haven’t. That means you are more committed to your nightly two glasses of wine than to your marriage.
Here’s another example: You say you want to write a book—and claim to be committed to this endeavor. However, you find all sorts of other things to do every day—including scrolling Facebook during the day and watching Netflix at night. So, you don’t write often or at all. (And you probably claim you have no time to write.) Obviously, you are more committed to other activities than your writing project.
Take a moment and consider the things you say you want to do but aren’t doing because you are doing something else. What are you truly committed to? (Be honest.)
You are Committed to Your Identity
At the heart of this discussion is a commitment to your identity. Who are you committed to being? What is your identity, and how committed are you to it?
You may want to show up differently, but be committed to showing up as you’ve been showing up. For instance, maybe you want to be a person who speaks up; yet, you stay silent. You keep asking yourself, “Why do I stay silent when I want to speak up?” The answer is simple: You’re committed to being a person who doesn’t speak up.
Look at your life to see who you’re committed to being. To help you discover your identity, take a look at the list below. Maybe you’re committed to one of these identities:
- Weight lifter
Your Actions Align with Your Identity
Let’s take this a step further: You are committed to the actions that align with your identity. They support being a specific type of person.
Suppose you are committed to being a pianist. In that case, you will do the things a pianist does, like practice the piano daily. Or, if you are committed to being a weight lifter, you will lift weights several times a week. And if you are committed to being a perfectionist, you will work on projects longer than necessary before releasing them as “done.”
In some cases, your identity might lie in a blind spot. This explains why someone who is an addict may not identify as such. They may see themselves as a casual user. Keep this in mind as you explore the identity you are committed to. Ask others to weigh in if you need some perspective.
How to Change Your Commitments
If you want to change your commitments, choose to do so. You can always choose to be committed to something else.
However, to change your commitments and behavior, first, commit to a new way of being—a new identity. Once you’ve decided how to show up in the world, you can choose to behave how such a person would act. You will easily commit to those behaviors because they align with the identity you have committed to.
For instance, if you choose to be somebody who exercises every day, you will naturally choose to work out daily. That behavior is part and parcel of who you are being. Your identity drives your choices. For example, someone committed to her health doesn’t even consider going to a fast-food restaurant when she gets hungry. Instead, she looks for a place to get a salad or a smoothie.
My Commitment Stories
I used to be committed to hitting the snooze button on my alarm at least three times each morning. Yet, I complained that I had no time for a morning routine. Obviously, I was not committed to the morning routine. Then, I decided to commit to being a person who wakes up when the alarm rings. Since that day, I have woken up when the alarm rings and enjoyed a morning routine.
Also, my husband and I were considering moving to a new state. Our marriage has been strained for some time; thus, I kept waffling about the move. But I decided to be someone who plays full-out in her marriage and is committed to making it work. So I chose to commit to that identity. And that commitment made my choice easy. After all, a person with that identity would choose to move with her husband. (Actually, that commitment immediately began to improve my marriage!)
What are you committed to, and do those commitments serve you? Do they help you be the person you want to be?
If not, what new commitments you would have to make to step into a new identity. And what behaviors would you have to choose to help you keep that commitment to yourself?
What are you committing to right now, and how will that commitment transform you and your life? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with a friend.
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Photo courtesy of anyaberkut.