When was the last time you played hooky, because you didn’t feel like going to work? And how often do you forget to pick up your kids at school or feed your beloved pets? I bet almost never. Yet, how is your follow-through when it comes to reaching your personal goals or just taking care of yourself? If you’ve ever tried to lose those extra pounds or get into better shape through exercise, you may have had this experience.
Once you’ve reached your goal, amnesia sets in. Somehow, all the knowledge and positive habits you’ve acquired through hard work are pushed aside, making room for a pint of ice cream in the shopping cart or excuses for why you can’t work out that day. Low and behold, the pounds reappear, the muscle tone disappears, and you find yourself right back where you started. Or you work through an empowering self-improvement program. At first, you’re energized, motivated, and committed to diligently apply all the insights and tools you’ve learned. But a couple of weeks later, you have a bad day, your energy dips, and your thoughts become negative. Eventually you give up, because “obviously” the program doesn’t work for you.
Why do we stop using the tools and empowering strategies that can help us to reach our goals and make us feel better? And why is it easier to stay committed to supporting others than ourselves? The word commitment may give you night sweats or cold feet.
Although you understand you need to commit to your health and happiness, you have a hard time subscribing to a specific routine. Life is too busy and your plate is already too full, and you can’t imagine adding one more chore to the have-to-do list.
On a deeper level, your subconscious mind may apply self-sabotaging patterns to prevent you from changing, since change and its unknowns can be scary. Or your subconscious blocks your efforts to protect you from possible failure, true to the motto: “you can’t fail if you don’t try.” All very understandable; however, there is a reason why self-commitment is the key to a growth and success.
Let’s say you work with a contractor, who assures you that the costs will definitely not exceed X amount of dollars, and he’ll easily complete the job in X amount of time. But along the way, your contractor tells you, that due to somehow unforeseeable complications the job will cost more and take longer than estimated. And then maybe one day the workers don’t show up, and the contractor doesn’t return your inquiring phone calls. How quickly would you lose trust and confidence in the person you’ve hired? When you decide to improve yourself, whether it is by going to the gym three times per week or starting to meditate for ten minutes before you go to bed, but then quickly discard your plans and abandon your good intentions, you are creating the same level of disappointment and distrust – just with yourself.
Don’t feel too bad, because most of us have been guilty of letting ourselves down. But we need to realize the damage we cause ourselves by doing so. Every time we go back on our word and break our self-commitment, we lose confidence and faith in ourselves―consciously and subconsciously. Our word holds no power. Since we don’t appear reliable and trustworthy to our subconscious mind, it may reactivate old, self-sabotaging patterns, which consequently make us feel even more stuck and insecure. Now the good news is that the opposite is also true. Consistency and commitment are some of the most potent forces for healing and growth. They signal to your subconscious mind, that you take control of your life and that you are serious about your goals. As your subconscious mind gains trust in your conscious decisions, it gradually shifts from its protection mode, into the wanting-to-please-you mode. In other words, it will provide you with its full support to reach your goals.
Commitment is the bridge to confidence. After all, confidence comes from the Latin word confidere, which means “to trust and have faith in.” And who better to trust and have faith in than ourselves? However, it’s difficult to commit to yourself if you consider it a chore or a sign that there is something wrong with you. However, if you approach your growth, self-improvement and well-being from a place of love and appreciation, you’ll open your heart to yourself more and more and, thus, make commitment the most precious gift you can give to yourself.