Today my husband and I celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. Someone recently asked me what the secret is to staying married to the same person for so long, while nearly 50% of today’s marriages end in divorce. I responded by saying that commitment and effective communication have been key ingredients for making our marriage work. I also made a really good choice, and my husband is a prince of a guy!
Commitments are at the core of all of our personal and professional relationships. That’s why it’s so important to behave with integrity and sincerity when we make commitments to others. Part of the work that I do as a coach is to help my clients evaluate and refine their commitments so they can make and keep them effectively.
Most of the people I know are over-committed; they’ve bitten off more than they can chew! Last week was Simplify Your Life Week…a great opportunity to think about the commitments that matter the most to you and to let go of those that are not as important.
7 Reflective Questions — Personal & Professional Commitments:
- Why did I make this commitment?
Your reasons and motives for making commitments change as your family, career, interests, and skills change. Loyalties shift and resources vary, so it becomes important to review your commitments from time to time. Otherwise, you may continue to commit to things that are no longer a good match for you.
- What values or priorities am I expressing with this commitment?
Check to see if you are honoring your own values or someone else’s. Language is a key indicator. If you hear yourself saying, “I should” or “I have to” a lot, this is a big red flag. Check in with yourself and ask, “Do I choose to?”
- What exactly have I promised?
Review commitments to see if you know the extent and duration of your promises. This will help you to keep your commitments manageable. When you make nonspecific commitments, it is easy to expend energy and attention on a continuing basis without experiencing a sense of completion or satisfaction. Put some parameters around the commitments you make.
- Do I have the resources to keep this commitment?
When you are clear about what you are promising, it will be easier to tell if you have the resources (time, energy, motivation, money, etc.) to keep your commitments while tending to your other responsibilities.
- What am I personally committed to?
When you hear yourself say, “I will try to do this,” ask yourself: Do I choose to do this? There is no try to. There is only do or not do. Make conscious choices around your actions, every moment of every day. When faced with an obstacle, your gut reaction may be to say, “I can’t do it!” Take this opportunity to identify the obstacle, examine it from different perspectives and say, “Okay, this looks pretty ominous from this vantage point, but from this other vantage point…I think there are some possibilities, so I’ll do this and see what happens.” In other words, although you may not be able to commit to the outcome, you can commit to your intentions and actions.
- Are my commitments a reflection of my values, talents, skills and interests?
Are your commitments helping you build the relationships you want, with the experiences you most cherish … or are they getting in the way of you honoring what’s most important to you? Give yourself time to reflect on this question. Once you are clear about your answer, you can renew, revise or renegotiate your commitments accordingly.
- How often am I out of integrity with what I’ve committed to do?
We all have circumstances that come up from time to time that make it difficult for us to honor our commitments to ourselves and to others. However, when we do not honor these commitments on a regular basis, we aren’t living with integrity. What is integrity? The thesaurus provides these synonyms to define integrity: honesty, truth, honor, reliability, uprightness.
I’d love to hear what you found most helpful about this blog, 7 Questions to Ensure You’re Committed to What Matters Most. Have you clarified what you are committed to in your life, and where you may be out of integrity? Please comment below.