It’s February now, a month after many of us made a list of New Year’s resolutions about our health.
Have you followed through on them? For how long?
We often begin the year with enthusiasm for our resolutions only to feel like a failure a few weeks in because we haven’t followed through.
The problem is usually not the resolution itself. Yes, there are lots of naysayers who criticize the idea of New Year’s resolutions. But their thinking misses the deeper desire that we have to feel better, a desire that we want to encourage and support.
The real challenging part about New Year’s resolutions is figuring out how to make them stick. In fact, many of you have recently finished the Cleanse and might be wondering how to keep the momentum going.
One way we start is by making better commitments.
The idea of achieving a commitment can seem daunting. Many of us already feel overburdened with obligations and stress. Adding more commitments to our ever growing To Do lists can feel like too much.
We’d like for you to look at your health commitments differently. Because what is a commitment?
A commitment is a pact or promise you make with yourself to do something you want to do.
It’s not something imposed on you by anyone else. It’s a promise you make based on your own health goals and desires.
At Clean, we’ve helped thousands of people develop their goals and create health commitments. For many, the Cleanse is the gateway tool to a healthier lifestyle. When you follow the simple structure of the cleanse, the commitments you are making are laid out for you (have a shake each morning and evening, follow the Cleanse Diet, take your supplements, maintain the 12-hour window).
But what happens when you’re having trouble taking action or you’ve finished the cleanse?
6 Ways to Make Better Commitments
Here are a few ways we’ve learned to help your health commitments stick:
1. Write It Down.
Lots of our clients tell us that they know what to do to feel better and change their health but they still don’t do it. When we dig deeper to find out what’s going on, we frequently find a lack of clarity. This often happens because we don’t write down what we are committing to.
When we write our commitments down, we get a chance to see them clearly and understand what we are committing to. Often this results in some internal wrestling (I don’t want to do this, No I really do, I wont be able to, etc.). This is a good thing. We want to get all this stuff out so we can remove the obstacles that have been holding us back.
When we let our health commitments remain as fleeting thoughts instead of clearly writing them down, we rarely get fired up enough to take action.
2. Get Specific.
The most common problem when writing commitments is lack of clarity and specificity. A general commitment is less powerful because it’s too vague to get behind.
Here are a few general and unspecific commitments:
I commit to eating better.
I will exercise more.
I am going to sleep more.
Here are some better versions of those commitments:
I commit to eating a clean, homemade dinner three times this week.
I commit to going to the gym two times this week and working out for 30 minutes.
I commit to going to bed at 10pm three times this week.
Each of the commitments above have clear actions to take and the number of times to do it. By stating the frequency of the commitment, you will know whether you’ve done it or not. (Not keeping your commitments is another topic we call resistance which we’ll tackle in an upcoming newsletter.)
3. Use Inspiring Language.
Writing an impactful commitment is an art. It’s an art that’s centered on what makes you tick, what gets you going. Only you know what that driving force is.
Be creative in your word choice and follow this one guideline: use language that inspires you.
Words have power. We’ve seen many clients reinvigorate their health goals just by changing the boring language of a health commitment into something that moves them.
When we choose a commitment that challenges our comfort zone, our minds come up with all kinds of stories why we shouldn’t do it. We may tell ourselves that we need a break this week, or that a commitment is not really important.
When this happens, we encourage you to drop the stories, follow through on your commitment, and vote after. Don’t decide before you take action what you think about the commitment. For most commitments, you’ll only know how you feel after you’ve done it.
We’ve seen so many clients get in their own way by committing to something and then immediately telling themselves the reasons why they can’t do it or why it won’t work.
If you decide before, you may not go through the often necessary moment of discomfort that comes whenever we are looking to make real change. So stay open and vote after you’ve followed through with your commitment.
5. Recommit Each Week.
Many of us know all too well the cycle of motivation that happens when we want to change our health. We start out bursting with excitement only to lose steam a few weeks into a program. One way to keep that from happening is to recommit each week to your health goals.
This is especially important for the commitments that are the most challenging. For example, if you have trouble getting yourself to be active or exercise each week, that’s a commitment you need to reaffirm each week.
6. Use the Commitment Worksheet.
Commitments are like muscles, they take time to build. The more you make a commitment and stick to it, the easier it will be to continue long term. Each week, write down your top three health commitments and track your progress.
Once a commitment is easy and second nature, then there’s no need to write it on your sheet. But for the more challenging commitments, you’re encouraged to write them down each week until they stick.
At some point, you’re not going to follow through. Don’t beat yourself up about this, just note it on the worksheet.
Nothing Tastes as Good as Integrity Feels
When you keep your commitments consistently, your health begins to transform. But something else also happens. You earn your integrity.
In this context, integrity means creating a commitment that’s in alignment with your goals, taking action, and accounting for when you don’t.
Even if you don’t keep them all the time, just acknowledge it and you’ll start to grow your commitment muscle.
We never know if a tool we suggest will be the one that helps you make consistent change. There are too many factors at play and each of us is motivated differently.
In the end, developing the art of making commitments is not only one of the ways we begin to improve our health but it’s also how we start writing our future.