Commitments are different than “things-I-would-also-like-to-do” or goals I have. So as an Addicted, ADD, commitment-guy-in-training I started with some things I KNEW were possible. At first that meant what is possible only TODAY. So at any given time at work, I never commit to myself or others beyond 1-3 things at a time – things I KNOW I can accomplish before the remainder of the day expires. In my personal life, that means I only commit to doing one or two small things – like getting to bed on time at 10:00 – for say the next three days – NO MATTER WHAT. .
I can do that….and I surrender the ILLUSION of CONTROL beyond that which is immediate and understandably doable in the present.
Once I got in the habit of making and keeping small commitments and felt I could trust myself, I enthusiastically found my capacity for commitment expanding and maybe I could make a commitment for a week then a month’s worth (still surrendering temptations to not follow through one moment and one day at a time – but now I knew how to do this).
Perhaps someday I will know deep in my heart that I can make and keep a significant and difficult new years resolution – but not quite yet! =)
So I pause when I say to myself “I am going to start getting to bed at 10:00” and ask myself – is this something I would ‘like to do’ or am I making a COMMITMENT… and if I am making a commitment, how many days can I be sure I can commit myself to it NO MATTER WHAT. Until I know I know how to surrender temptations to not follow through – I commit for just today – and I may renew that commitment tomorrow. We run patiently the race that is before us…line upon line. Of course the sooner something is habit from repeated surrenders to doing the right thing one decision at a time over repeated days, the sooner my life simplifies and I can spend commitment energy somewhere else.
If something I would like to do falls short of being a commitment I don’t berate myself up when I don’t come through – I just consider whether that should be be a commitment thing instead at one point and try not to stuff too much in.
First get the big weeds out….your addiction behavior with a very few small supportive self-care commitments. Don’t distract yourself with the thousand small weeds and make them commitments – your addict wants that so you are tempted to say “forget the whole thing.”
In my early recovery I would commit to endure the next 10 minutes lust free and make a phone cal or text in that time as well. That was as great a commitment as I could keep, and perhaps I could go from there with another 10 minutes if I still needed it.
This is why I make such a big deal up front before taking a new sponsee about their asking themselves whether they are truly really and absolutely ready to do a 100% every-day for 100 days intensive program. I am not trying to be a rigid dogmatic bonehead – that just goes without saying. I am in these instances, saying – please, I want you to succeed this time, please you can’t afford to buy in half-way and expect change.
That said, it is NOT better to just start avoiding commitments – life is very dismal that way. Rather, we just slowly expand our self-perception as a commitment-making and commitment-keeping person.