Commitment is doing something even when you have good reasons for why that thing is hard to do.
I heard someone say once that commitment means doing the activity to get you to the goal, even after the mood in which you set the goal had passed.
Or something like that.
I’m just like you and everybody else, I have times when life gets hard and I don’t want to do the things I told myself (and others) that I would do.
For example, this week I made a commitment to write 500 or more words per day (in the form of a blog post, published or unpublished) Monday through Friday.
When I set the goal, I thought it would be easy, because I’ve done it before. Now here it is Wednesday morning, and I find myself resisting. HARD.
I have ALL the reasons in my head why it’s okay not to follow through today:
- I had to drive my kid to school this morning. That ate into my inspiration and writing time.
- My podcast player wasn’t working right. How am I supposed to choose a topic without a cue?!
- I just started a new role in my brokerage, and I have SO many things to do!
- Who do I think I am that I should take 45 minutes in which I could be working, and devote them to writing a post?
And then the voice in my head starts listing off, one by one, all the things that I want to accomplish this week, all the things I forgot to do last week, all the other things that I could prepare for next week, and on and on and on.
I have drafted several blog posts, intended for use on days when I’m legitimately not going to write, like during travel or vacations, and the devil on my shoulder whispers that I could just post one of those today and call it good.
Who would know that I didn’t write it today?
I mean, of course I’ll edit it a little bit… doesn’t that count?
The breathless whisper of a cunning demon, it almost sounds like me.
But it’s not.
In BOLD we call this voice the drunk monkey. It’s the voice that tells you it’s okay to slack off, cheat a little bit, sleep in, eat the chocolate, and shut down your computer before you’ve called through the entire list of people you intended to reach out to.
The drunk monkey can seem like the Devil incarnate, especially when you REALLY REALLY REALLY want to hit a certain goal or adopt a certain habit.
The drunk monkey wants to hold you down.
In his book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield has a nuanced take on this – he writes about a thing called resistance. Every day, we wake up and it’s there. And every day, we must hurl ourselves into battle against it. The resistance is a powerful enemy. If we are not strong enough to overpower it, the resistance will stop us dead in our tracks.
It will prevent us from reaching our goals and becoming who we are destined to become.
It sounds dramatic and yet do you feel this way sometimes?
I know I do.
On mornings like this one, the resistance was a physical presence inside of my body, breathing through my ears, all of the reasons why it’s okay not to write today.
Five hundred words.
This sentence brings the word count to five hundred and forty-seven. (Before editing.)
Today I fought back.
You can you.
I believe in you.