How is your relationship with your spouse? With your kids? With your parents? How about your relationship with time? Yep – you read that correctly: You have a relationship with time and how you show up in your relationship with time matters as much as your thoughts and how you show up in your relationships with the important people in your life.
I have done a lot of work on my relationships with my parents, my kids, my siblings, and myself in the past 5-7 years. I’ve made sure that the people in my life support me and my values. I’ve set up boundaries for appropriate behavior and I’ve been vigilant in managing my mind regarding what I was (and am) thinking about these different people in my life. Are my thoughts true? Are my thoughts helping me? Time to put my feet up and relax, right? Nope! Life is wonderful in that it’s always presenting us with new learning opportunities. My inner warrior was prodding me: What about your relationship with time Susie? I was trying to ignore that relationship but like anything: what we resist, persists. I came to realize that a series of thoughts that I was thinking DAILY was creating stress and overwhelm in my life. My thoughts had to do with time: “I am too busy”, “I don’t have enough time”, or “I can’t get it all done”.
When I think these thoughts, I feel stressed and overwhelmed. When I feel stressed and overwhelmed, I don’t show up as my best self in life: I don’t show up as the mom, as the entrepreneur, as the partner that I want to be. This creates results in my life that I don’t want and in last week’s blog I committed to change. Here is my commitment:
I commit to thinking I have enough time. I commit to taking responsibility for my time and how I spend my days. I commit for my kids and for my partner but mostly I commit for me and the way thinking the thought “I have enough time” makes me feel.
This week I’d like to talk about how important it is to keep commitments we make to ourselves and how we go about keeping those commitments no matter what.
Let’s start with the past. Think of a time when you haven’t kept a commitment you’ve made to yourself.
-Have you said you’re going to lose weight and then, when the going gets tough, you quit?
-Have you said you’re going to stop yelling at your kids and then, when the going gets tough, you quit?
-Have you said you’re going to go out on weekly date nights with your mate but when the going gets tough, you quit?
What does that feel like? How do you feel as you reflect back on some of the commitments you’ve made to yourself but haven’t followed through on? Not good. Committing to our goals no matter what is crucial: crucial to achieving that goal and crucial to our confidence. If we say we are going to keep a gratitude journal, we need to keep a gratitude journal. If we say we are going to consistently exercise, we need to consistently exercise.
How do we do this? Two steps:
(1) We believe in the importance of our commitment and,
(2) We remove quitting as an option.
Step one has to do with our thoughts about our commitment; our mindset. We have to believe that reaching our commitment is important. Why do we want to commit to something? What is inspiring us? I encourage clients to think of how they want to feel. If you want to commit to losing weight, think of how losing weight will make you feel healthier + more energized instead of wanting to lose weight so you look better in your jeans. If you want to stop yelling at your kids, think of how you’ll feel calmer and more connected to your kids when you don’t yell instead of choosing not to yell because you’re worried what the neighbors will think. I want to change my thoughts from “I’m too busy” to “I have enough time” because feeling peaceful is a whole lot better than feeling overwhelmed.
Step two also has to do with our mindset: remove quitting as an option. Commit no matter what. When we learned to walk, it didn’t matter that we kept falling down. Quitting was not an option so we learned to walk. When we decided to go to college, it didn’t matter that we visited a lot of campuses we didn’t like. Quitting was not an option and so we kept visiting schools until we found one we liked. Remove quitting as an option and you will figure out how to get it done. It is helpful to remind yourself that you already commit no matter what in small ways every day. Consider these two examples:
- You are driving to work and halfway there discover that the road you usually take is closed. What do you do? Find another way to get there. Period. You aren’t going to put your head on the wheel and say: “This is too much effort” or “It’s taking too long”. Quitting is not an option so you look for another way to get to work. You think: “I have to get to work so how am I going to make it happen?”
- You are in the supermarket with a full cart of much-needed groceries and your kids. At the front of the store you discover a super long line. What do you do? Find a way to entertain them (and yourself) as you wait in line. You aren’t going to throw your hands up and say: “Never mind, this is too hard” or, “Oh well, no food for us this week, it’s taking too long”. Nope. You are going to get those groceries because quitting is not an option. You make it happen.
Removing quitting as an option does two magical things. First, it sets your brain to look for alternate solutions and focus on the positive. Instead of thinking: “Damn there’s so much traffic” or “Why are all these people in line?”, it directs you to take action. You aren’t going to quit so you had better figure out how to move through the situation you’re in. Secondly, it allows for setbacks. Setbacks happen. Expect them and when they come up, you work through them.
I know I’ve caught myself thinking “I’m too busy” and feeling overwhelmed countless times since my commitment last week. Since I’m not quitting, I expect the setback and instead learn from what was going on in my life when I chose to go back to my old thought patterns. This happens often with weight loss: if you are commit to healthy eating but ate the whole carton of ice cream last night, many people wake up and quit. They might tell themselves: “that was too hard” or “losing weight is taking too long”. Enough. Did you say that when you were stuck in traffic or in a long line? Expect setbacks and remove quitting as an option. Move on. Setbacks happen. Quitting doesn’t have to.
Where can you remove quitting as an option from your life? Please share below or email me. The more we share our own stories, the more we get to grow and learn. Thanks for reading and go grab this week!