Let’s take a look at the commitments we made for ourselves, at the start of this year. We are now six months in and 2020 did not turn out the way we planned. Most of us have been unable to keep New Year’s Resolutions due to closures of gyms, travel plans being disrupted, and lack of childcare. The world has turned upside down and we have been left to forge ahead on an unknown path.
Now is the time to make new commitments. Deciding to set a plan for our health, our vacations, and for social justice can be the start of feeling hopeful again. Every day is a new day and filled with possibilities. Setting intentions with new attainable goals can cause a shift in our mental health. Instead of feeling disappointed in ourselves for not following through, we can celebrate new wins with a new list.
What is your struggle?
Start here. Make a goal to work on something that has been the hardest for you to accept. For me, this changes every week as the world deviates from “normal” faster than I can process.
I’ve been educated in countless ways lately about white privilege and it weighs heavy on my heart. I am in awe of the peaceful protests and the ways we have risen in solidarity.
If you want to do something with your anger, frustration, and/or sadness over the death of George Floyd and countless other wrongful deaths of African Americans, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. There is no perfect formula. Find your way to show up, to educate yourself, and to be a part of the change that you want to see.
What do you want to change within yourself?
Do you struggle with expressing anger or being vulnerable in your communications? Read a book, attend a communication workshop, or an anger management class.
Do you want to see more definition in your legs? Add squats and lunges into your daily routine.
Do you want to have a stronger immunity to avoid negative effects of coronavirus exposure? Eat healthily and take vitamins and supplements that support a healthy immune system.
Are you in need of a career change?
Is fear stopping you from leaving your current job and beginning the career of your dreams? Perhaps you feel guilty for not liking your job. You are fortunate to have a job and think you should feel grateful.
Perhaps something has woken within you during this time of BIG CHANGE in the world and your values have changed along with them.
Set little goals that lead up to you being in the job that you want to be in. Maybe the time is not now but it’s in your near future. Write it down and make a plan.
Do you feel guilty about something or someone?
Get to the root of that feeling of unease. Did you say something hurtful to someone and it still haunts you? Did you break a promise? Make it right with them. If that is impossible, write them a letter that you either send or throw into a fire. Write the words, do the thing you promised, or say you are sorry for whatever you did.
Make a list
Create a new list of the changes you want to see in your life. Even if they feel unattainable. Write it all down. And list the steps you will take to make it a reality.
Place it on your fridge. Share it with a friend. Post it on social media. Do what you need to do to make yourself accountable so that you have the best chance at success in actualizing your goals.
Honoring commitments to yourself
Keeping commitments to loved ones is easier than keeping commitments to ourselves. Why is that? You are held accountable when you promise to show up for someone in your life. But when you don’t exercise or you cheat by eating a donut at work, that nobody sees, there is no consequence. Right? Or wrong?
I know when I break a promise to myself. It doesn’t feel good in my body. I’m not just talking about the sluggish feeling I get from eating sugar. It doesn’t feel good in my soul. I feel like a failure. I want to feel like a winner, and I know what gives me that feeling.
What if I cheat?
When I decide to cut out wheat for 2 weeks or commit to exercising 5 times a week for a month, I feel like I’m on top of the world when I make it through without cheating! If I only exercise 4 days a week, I’ll make it up by adding on a 6th day next week. If I have some wheat, I start the two weeks over again. You see, when you are the boss, you can change the rules. As long as it feels good and right for you, then do it!
It becomes easier with time
Just like breakups feel less horrible as time goes on, honoring commitments becomes easier with time and practice. When I choose to stick with a goal that only I know about, I tell myself that I deserve it. I tell myself I am strong. I tell myself that I am worthy of greatness. My reward is the sweet feeling of satisfaction I get from moving closer to my goals of good health, bettering my communication, and doing good for other people. This empowering feeling helps me in all areas of my life. And I trust it will also help you.
When I start my day with intentions of greatness, I am surprised at the beauty that unfolds organically. I can choose to honor the commitments I’ve made with my health, with my loved ones, and with myself. I am empowered when I choose to live in integrity and keep on the path that I intended. I grow from each change I make in my life. Stopping old habits and beginning new healthy ones will take me farther in this world and lead to more peace.
If you don’t know where to start but you know you need to make some big changes in your life, order a copy of Feminism: A Journey to Equality. This workbook will lead you through a series of exercises that can help you discover who you are. Written by Jennifer Vollbrecht and Danaelle Rodriquez, this workbook gives us permission to tune in. It will be a source of inspiration to guide you as you figure out WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU. No path fits everyone. We all have gifts to share, struggles to overcome, and unresolved feelings to process.
Our pain matters, no matter how big or small. When we unlock the root of our triggers and work on improving our communication and compassion with others, love will prevail and spark a ripple.
When I see images of the thousands of people showing up for peaceful protests around our nation, I am overcome with emotion. The goodness in people is strong and we need to see this and feel this to find a new way.
The old ways did not serve everyone and THAT’S NOT OKAY. We are awake. We are watching. We are working towards a much-needed change in this world.
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden is a freelance writer and editor at Walden Writes For Women in Gainesville, Florida.