In our non-stop technology-driven society we have controls for almost every circumstance or situation.
Of course, there’s the old standby like the TV remote control. But we would be remiss if we forgot to mention cruise control for all our automobiles, climate controls for homes and offices, and even fabric softener release controls for our washing machines. The list goes on and on.
Unfortunately, the most necessary control missing from most 21st Century lifestyles is what I like to refer to as Commitment Control.
Much like a gerbil spinning furiously on a wheel, many of my clients are overscheduled with far too many demands being placed upon them. They live a very distracted life where they simply do not have enough time in the day to complete everything they want or need to get done.
What they know to be most important (such as family, friends, dream building, recreation, and relaxation) gets all too easily shoved to the back burner by “working lunches,” “can’t-miss appointments,” “high priority e-mails,” “sudden death overtime,” and many any other time consuming and emotionally draining activities.
A client told me recently, “What is most important in today’s never-ending rat race and in finding the right career for me is following through on my promises to others and, especially, honoring the commitments or goals I set for myself.
In case this scenario sounds like your current routine or the 9 to 5 schedule for someone else you know, here are ten proven ways to help relocate the “unwind” and “pause” buttons on your own personal Commitment Control for your life. If finding the right career for me is what you want start the commitment now.
- Stop and Have a Carrot. If this sounds like an off-the-wall substitute for “stop and smell the roses,” it is. The self-renewing benefits of taking the time to pause and fully experience the joy of fulfilling a promise you have made to another or reaching a personal goal of your own are simply too important to let pass by as you move to the next item on your agenda.
- Don’t Forget To Check Your “Inner TV” Guide. Identify the highest priority within all your daily activities and then devote as much time and energy as possible to completing this assignment or activity.
- Know When to Say When. Recognizing that your “priority plate” is already too full or realizing that it is impossible to say yes to it all is one of the best ways to simplify your life so that you can focus on what it takes to make your own life successful for you. This might sound selfish, but it’s about really honoring your needs and desires by focusing on what you “really want” to do and not what you think others think you “should” do.
- Keep it in Writing. Putting your promises or commitments in writing and keeping them easily accessible and visible throughout the day is another great way to keep track of exactly what you want to accomplish or who you want to accomplish it for.
- Schedule time in your calendar so that you have committed adequate time to each activity you want to complete.
- Visualize the positive outcomes that occur when you complete your promises. Again, its okay to be selfish when it comes to achieving what is most important to you. Specifically, focus on what is made possible in your life or how completing a particular activity benefits you.
- There’s nothing wrong with rescheduling in your calendar any scheduled task that you don’t complete. Be clear on why you didn’t complete the task and what distraction kept you from completing your desired intention.
- Make time to do something to acknowledge the accomplishment of the promise or commitment, rather than just pressing on and doing the next activity. When you provide a reward, you create a greater desire to want to complete your future commitments.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you fail to keep a promise or commitment. First, stop and acknowledge at what point you actually gave up on the commitment and why. Next, focus on how you can fix this situation so it works out more favorably for all parties involved in the future.
Most, importantly, enjoy the journey and never take yourself too seriously. Allow yourself permission to fail or not to achieve each and every goal you set for yourself…or every promise you make to someone else. Rather than taking the over-critical disciplinarian approach of being tremendously hard on yourself for simply being a card-carrying member of the human race, this softer, gentler approach will work much better when it comes to performing at your highest level of achievement.
No matter what your situation, the key to putting your life back on Commitment Control is being able to say no to others to allow time to say yes to yourself. Or as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of the great figures in Western literature, once said:
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”