The only way I know to honor a commitment is to keep that commitment in front of you and others as often as possible. In this step we create a plan for doing just that.
1. Our Ideals/ Principles. What plan can you create to:
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- Choose a day of the week to review your entire commitment document (I prefer Sundays as it sets the tone for the next work week.)
- Each week, you will read the list out loud to yourself and/ or a supportive person.
- Set an alarm on your smart phone or on your calendar. If you have one, put it on the family calendarWhatever tool you use should be consistent with the time management tool used for this whole process.
- Make a theme for 2015 that ties all of your commitments. My 2015 theme is t o increase my capacity for giving and receiving love and to help others do the same. In fact, this will be the theme of the blog for 2015 as well.
- Each week add or edit the principles based on this theme. This document is a living document. However, principles likely will not change much during the course of the year unless you encounter a life changing event.
- Schedule blocks in your calendar or time management tool for executing each of your routines.
For example, my workday morning routine: lay in bed and review social media and email; make tea; write; meditate and exercise. My routine used to begin with meditation, but through self-awareness, I realized I wasn't able to meditate if I hadn't checked in with social media first.
This morning routine is built around habits that I chose to chain together in a particular order. I already had the habit of checking social media. No matter how much I wanted to exercise or meditate first, social media would always prevent my success. So, I chained my new habits to this old one and then to each other. I have written, exercised, and meditated more since doing it.
- Consider these blocks of time sacred, and they become ritual
- Always do activities in the same order
Don't allow this time to be interrupted by anything else. Also, did you notice that I make a cup of tea as part of my morning routine. This isn't a habit I'm trying to form. Instead, it adds ritual to my morning. A cup of tea becomes a trigger to first write then meditate, helping me to maintain the order.
- Allow room for failure
- Do not feel obligated to make up a missed activity that same day. This will add a nagging to do to your already full list.
I don't specify time for each activity in my routines (you may feel differently). My self-awareness has taught me scheduling 30 minute blocks of time is too rigid. When I did this, I would fail to get to a particular activity at it's allotted time and I would feel bad.
Instead, I recommend we block out a certain amount of time for each of our routines. We make effort to enact the routine before the block of time runs out. We forgive ourselves for any part of the routine that doesn't get done. But that activity gets done tomorrow no matter what because we never want to miss an activity two days in a row or it starts to form the wrong kind of habit.
- Add a review of your tools for time management, tasks, resources and achievements to other routines such as your morning or evening routines and/ or a weekly routine.
- Review your list of habits. Are there any that would be more successfully making them part of a routine? Review #2 above and add these habits into the weekly routine review but keep them here as well.
- If you have a smart phone, I strongly recommend the Lift App, which is now called Coach Me. You may want to find another app that allows you to check off and track your habits. Whatever this tool is, use of it should be made a part of a routine above.
There are two things I love about the Lift app. First, you can set how many days in the week you will do each habit. You can also review each habits success data whenever you want. Secondly, they offer affordable coaching via a messaging platform (sort of like texting). I am going to test the coaching for one of my habits and report back in a future post. But, it is the cheapest game in town to my knowledge. Though, if money is not an issue, I then strongly recommend you get a coach, therapist or friend to help you be accountable, grow into and achieve your 2015 commitments.
- Have only 8-10 new habits for 2015. This means you may have to pare your list down a bit.
- Choose one habit to be your priority habit. Tie this priority habit to a principle and to your 2015 theme.
If you only accomplished one new habit, which would it be? Which habit might make the others less important or strengthen your resolve for the others. For example, I am committed to making healthy, tasty meals that honor my personal values, current nutritional recommendations, and lead me towards my ideals -to have a healthy and fit body that loves to move and supports my capacity to give and receive love.
My new priority habit is in italics and one of my ideals/ principles follow giving the habit more significance. I add my 2015 theme at the end to connect the habit to my over-arching commitment. I also recommend answering these questions for your priority habit or goal:
What is your motivation for starting this goal?
How will your life be better if you achieve it?
What exactly will you do? How often? For how many days? How strictly?
What help do you need to achieve this goal?
Do you have questions about how to do it?
Can you predict what challenges you'll have?
- Make as many of your habits part of routines to increase their success
- Allow your habits time to build in strength. Focus on your priority habit for a few weeks, then the next, etc.
- Practice self-forgiveness as part of self mastery. Habits take time.We can't go from 0 to 60 on our first try and we can't expect immediate perfection either. Give yourself a break.
- Use your habit tracking system faithfully!
4. Tasks/ Plans/ Goals
- Schedule planning time. All tasks and goals require planning of time, energy and resources to accomplish them.
- During planning times, identify the next step/ task in achieving your goals
- Input this next step into your task management system/ software
- Schedule review time both daily and weekly
- Make you goals SMART as mentioned in previous steps
- Make your tasks actionable (begin with an action verb) and specific enough that someone else can do it.
- Delegate tasks. If your tasks can be done by someone else and you can afford it, let them!
- Avoid creating a complicated plan. This plan will only tell you what will not happen. Instead, as mentioned above, identify the next step for each of your goals. If you must plan with more detail or because of timing, then only do this for one goal until it is 75 -90% complete before planning your next goal.
- Deadlines are useful and can always be negotiated. Monthly deadlines are especially useful (i.e. I am committed to having a completed book proposal by March of 2015).
- Get a coach!
5. Commit to your tools and you will commit to achievement
You should have three to four tools: a storage device for holding all of your 2015 commitment information that you review weekly; a habit tracking tool reviewed daily; a task management tool reviewed daily and weekly; a time management tool for tracking reviews and routines.
I use Evernote as both my storage tool and my task management tool. I use the Lift app as my habit trackingtool. I use my iOS/ Mac calendar for my time management tool. I engage with these three tools every morning and evening. I do a more exhaustive review with these tools every Sunday as part of my commitment review.
These tools are all available on my laptop, desktop and phone. However, you can just as easily create a paper system to accomplish this work too. The important part is the commitment to using the tools.
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Posted in Recreation Post Date 01/28/2017