Every Worthwhile Endeavor Begins with a Commitment

Every Worthwhile Endeavor Begins with a Commitment

Positive change in any area of our life – relationship, health, work, community – begins with a conscious commitment.

For example, criticism and blame in relationship ends with an ongoing commitment to catch ourselves and shift to new behaviors of acceptance and love.  Improving our health begins with a commitment to eat nutritiously and make choices accordingly.  Creating satisfaction in our work life begins with a conscious commitment to ending complaint and naming what we appreciate.  All are examples of the creative power of commitment.

Without it, our lives stay on the path forged by unsatisfactory or hurtful earlier life experiences.

A few years ago, Steve and I heard about the bonding and connection power of a 20 second hug and decided that it was a simple way to enhance our relationship.  So we made a commitment to have a 20 second hug every morning and see what happened.  We immediately felt the positive change in our sense of connection, not just in the moment, but through the whole day.   We’ve been doing this now for a few years and along with the positive results, it’s a practice that we both look forward to and miss when we’re separated.   I consider it one of the key loving practices for our relationship well-being.  We knew this was a good idea, but good ideas go by the way side if not acted on.  The conscious commitment made it happen!

Conscious Commitments become our guides for the actions we take on a day to day basis.  If there is something that you want in your life, or a way of being you want to develop in yourself, make a commitment to it. That’s the very first step.

If you want to have an hour of free time this week, make a commitment to it.  Then take action that will produce it; cross out an hour in your schedule and no matter what keep the date with yourself.  Let someone close to you know that you’re doing this and get support for it.

If you want to create an attitude of gratitude and joy for yourself, commit to it.  Then sit yourself down daily and practice being grateful.  It might be a challenge at first, but soon your list will start pouring out of you.

If you want to be more kind and loving in your relationships, commit to it.  Then consider what actions to take that are kind and loving to the others in your life.  These shifts are often not easy at first, but they make a big positive difference in our everyday ordinary lives.

Commitment needs an action plan.

Commitment always needs to precede an action plan.  Most people have it the other way around.  We say, “I’ll see if I can do it then I’ll commit.”  We need to consider that committing is the place we stand on in order to do something.  It’s the guide and vehicle for moving ourselves consciously forward.

And make sure that what you commit to is something that you can act on, not something you want from another person.  Saying you want another to treat you better isn’t within your control. But saying that you’ll find and express something to appreciate about the other person is within your control. Identify what is in your control and commit to that.

Here’s a basic practice of conscious commitment:

  1.  Decide what you want to commit to for yourself. – “I want to feel more loving toward myself.”
  2. Create ease in your bodymind with what you want by doing some conscious breathing and moving while saying what you want.
  3. When ready, make your commitment to it – “I commit to loving myself.”
  4. Say this several times to yourself (in front of a mirror is helpful) with breathing and moving to support this new commitment.
  5. Decide what action to take that reflects more love for yourself.
  6. Follow through on the action frequently and make it a part of your life.

Remember, positive change follows Conscious Commitment.  Practicing this principle of using commitments as guides is a clear way of treating yourself as if you matter and acknowledging the power you have to make a difference.

About the author

Suzanne Kilkus

Suzanne Kilkus is a Soto Zen meditation practitioner and teacher and has practiced as a therapist and counselor for over three decades. She is dedicated to assisting people in expanding their capacity for giving and receiving love, and for recognizing and expressing their basic goodness in everyday life. Her path to live with wholehearted compassion and care is an invitation to everyone. She is a teacher with Open Door Zen Community in Madison, WI.

One Response to Every Worthwhile Endeavor Begins with a Commitment

  • Jill Beuning

    We are going to try out the 20 second hug! Thank you 🙂