You Mean I Have to Show Up, and Be On Time?
Commitment is a word that makes me cringe. Not in the sense of relationships, but rather in committing to fixed schedules, appointments, or even social events. I will walk away from a good deal at a gym or club because it requires a monthly or yearly commitment. I rarely make plans. I have a problem with appointments. I feel trapped by a schedule. As you can imagine, with responsibilities of work and family piling up, this resistance to commitment is becoming a problem.
I recently signed up for a free-trial of a group-based fitness program. It sounded like a great program…you follow a coach led workout with a group of people and everyone encourages each other. No monthly commitment. There are about 12 time slots a day and all you have to do is sign up for your time online and show up. Simple, right? Wrong. You have to sign up early and cancel within a certain time period if you can’t make it. And you have to show up for your appointment and arrive on time. Deal breaker.
Over time I have done quite a bit of research on time management and how to stick to a schedule; I have just never implemented what I learned. Since my commitment issues seem to be getting worse as my life becomes busier, I’m finally setting a goal to break the non-commitment habit. Here are some of my things for the things I plan to focus on this month:
1. Think of it as a challenge, rather than a commitment. I have always been drawn to challenges, contest, and competitions. By thinking of keeping appointments (and getting there on time) as a challenge, not an obligation, I can replace some of the commitment anxiety with motivation.
2. Start small. Instead of coming up with an elaborate, micro-managed schedule I am picking one thing a day that I can commit to doing at a scheduled time. Some days it might be getting to that exercise class at 8AM, other days it might be writing out bills at 7PM.
3. Keep track in a new notebook. There is something magical about new office supplies. For me, new supplies symbolize a fresh start and having a specific place to keep track of my goals make them seem important.
4. Use rewards. It would be nice if I would get a reward every time I showed up somewhere on time. Unfortunately, showing up and being on time are expected …so there isn’t someone waiting to congratulate me when I get to a class or appointment on time. That’s why I’m going to be my own cheerleader. I’m making a list of simple rewards I can earn when I meet one of my goals. Little things to keep me motivated… a trip to the coffee shop, a new pen or twenty guilt-free minutes to read blog posts.
5. Ignore negative people. This is probably the hardest part. Once people have it in their head that I’m always late or cancel plans, it is hard to move past that. There are inevitably people in our lives who put down our goals or point out all the times we have tried and failed. I’m going to try to ignore these people or imagine their words bouncing off me. The only opinion of me and my goals that really matters is my own. We are not defined by the past.
“Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions which speak louder than the words. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time after time after time, year after year after year. Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
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