As a lady approaching her forties, focussing on commitment may seem like too little, too late. Or someone trying to be a sheep in lamb’s clothing. That’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m not (currently) a commitment-phobe of the type you read about in most magazines. I’m not running out on perfectly good relationships and making foolish career choices. I am what I’d describe as lacking commitment in the second realm.
Major commitments, commitments of the first realm, marriage, parenting, education, and the like, are something that I’ve not really had difficulty sticking to, except when Graves Disease messed with me. The type of commitment I’ve been having a lot of trouble with is the stuff that matters, but, you know, doesn’t matter enough. It’s not stuff that feeds my children, pays the bills or saves lives. The stuff most people have trouble fitting into their lives. Eating properly, keeping up with personal projects and the dreaded regular exercise.
I don’t really know how I’m going to do this, but I’m working on a plan. I’ve tried a few of the popular avenues in the past and realised that I can change my behaviour for a time, but I never really get the requisite change of heart.
For instance, it is regularly suggested that we make healthy habits part of our routine, and eventually they will become second nature, like brushing your teeth. I totally suck at routine. I forget to brush my teeth. Even though my parents were very diligent about it when I was a child and, of course, I’ve done it for years as an adult, every so often I forget and then it totally falls out of my routine. It takes effort to get it going again. And that’s just brushing my teeth. Other stuff is almost impossible to get back online again. I dislike routine. It eventually makes me feel uncomfortable and grumpy.
The upside of my aversion to routines is that I generally cope well with change. Not to say I don’t get stressed about it, but I cope well. The bad part is, that many of these commitments in the second realm would benefit greatly from effective routine. Then I wouldn’t have to use any of my finite decision-making energy to do them, because that’s where these things really fall apart for me. So much stuff falls into this grey area of not quite important enough. It gets into a crazy muddle of priorities in my mind about what exactly I should do next, so I just go and make a hot beverage of my choice and eat some chocolate.
Another regular suggestion is to plan ahead. Meal plan, schedule exercise, create a blogging editorial calendar. I am better at this, but it also can easily fall apart with children and other such commitments in the first realm reschedule my time, and I just don’t get back on the rails, because frankly, it can be tedious to draw up a schedule (over and over) and I really just don’t want to. It becomes a very big hump that I need to ponder with a hot beverage and a piece of chocolate.
A third suggestion is to sign up for something. Putting it in writing makes it a real commitment. Sign up for a photography challenge, some exercise classes or Weight Watchers. Um, yeah. See for the first two suggestions on how to change your life. It kinda works, but really, it still doesn’t convince me deep in my heart, that I truly care (enough), so I stop doing it.
My latest plan is to create a new realm of commitment. Realm 1.5. The key to it’s existence is that it is a very small realm, fitting only a few clear commitments. I am going to make the call that some commitments no longer belong in the second realm, even though they don’t have what it takes to enter the first realm. Commitments that rise above loading the dishwasher, making another hot beverage of my choice and sadly, chocolate.
Now imagine a montage of me making many hot beverages and drinking them while I scribble furiously in my chocolate-smudged notebook many different lists of priorities. I realise at this point you probably think my problem could be solved by getting rid of my kettle and banning chocolate at my house. Rest assured, I tried it, and it didn’t work.
And then, ta da! Here is what fits into Commitment Realm 1.5:
- Yoga/Pilates/other workout every weekday.
- Completing the Dogwood 52 Week Photography Challenge and publish the results on this blog.
- Eating vegetables everyday at lunchtime.
I know this just looks like a list of my New Year’s Resolutions about new routines that I’m putting in writing as a plan for the future. Ssshhhh! My subconscious might hear you. It’s looking for more interesting things to listen to other than the lecture it is currently receiving about the amazing existence of Commitment Realm 1.5 and how it is the key to having a change of heart…