Three days ago, I made a commitment to myself. Not to anyone else, just me. It was a simple commitment – to write. Everyday. For 17 days. Consecutively. Here. On this blog.
Why? Well, because I’m a writer and writing is my way of processing things. It’s actually something I must do in order to feel well. When I don’t write, my thoughts get clogged. And, right now I am in a big growth phase, so I’m taking in a lot of new information, but if I don’t write, it doesn’t get fully processed and internalized. Instead it spins around recklessly in my mind. It’s just how my brain works.
So, I made a promise to myself. To celebrate the new year, I would give myself the gift of 17 days of writing. No rules. No guidelines. Just writing. For me.
Why is this such a gift to myself? Well, I also write for a living. And, somehow my ‘work writing’ takes over. And, I get pushed down the priority list. As if ‘writing for myself’ is simply not as important as ‘writing for others’.
I already write every day…just not for me. And, it’s not the same. My voice gets lost when I write for others. I write with a specific purpose in mind, a direction, rather than for my own expression. So, what I really need is a daily practice. To find my voice. To express myself.
That’s where the promise came in. I was so excited to ‘take back’ my time and to give myself this gift. But already by day three, I had failed. I missed a day. So much for the promise I made to myself of ’17 days in a row’.
Do you ever do this? Make a promise to yourself and then totally bail out on it?
Maybe it’s a promise to eat better or to exercise more. Maybe it’s a promise to be more mindful or generous. So you commit to yourself. You promise THIS is the turning point. There is no going back. You can’t wait to get started.
But within a matter of days (or maybe weeks or hours), you fall off the wagon. You are back to your old ways.
It’s beyond frustrating. It’s downright disgusting.
Of course, after I missed my one day of writing, my immediate response was to just give up. “It’s never going to happen. There is no way I can ever reach 17 consecutive days of writing for myself, for pure joy. Throw in the towel. Move on!”
It’s so much easier to just give up on ourselves, isn’t it? After all, this isn’t the first time I’ve made a promise to myself that I didn’t keep. If I’m truly honest, it happens all the time. And, it gets so frustrating to me because I know that I ALWAYS follow through on my commitments to everyone else. ALWAYS. I will go to great lengths to ensure that every promise I make, every task I commit to, gets delivered. On time.
And yet, when it comes to making a promise to myself, I act as if it doesn’t even matter. After all, it’s just me.
That’s when I have to step back and assess. Am I really going to let myself off the hook? Am I really going to go back on my word? To myself? Do I not deserve my own commitment? My own word?
Of course, writing – it’s such a small thing. It’s so easy to belittle the importance of it. And yet, for me, it’s a big thing. I need it. I starve without it.
So, with a bit of shame, I find my way back to the keyboard to face myself and start over.
How do you start over when you doubt yourself? When you don’t trust yourself? When you have let yourself down so many times before?
You have a couple choices, right? Start over or walk away. What’s it going to be? How bad do you want this thing that you committed to?
Get angry if you want to. Let it in. Feel it. There’s nothing wrong with a little anger or frustration to get you going. Let it fuel you. It just might be the energy that gets you back on track.
Forgiveness is always tough – especially when it’s for yourself. But, why beat up on yourself? Would you do that to someone else? Probably not. Be kind to yourself. Let it go. It’s okay.
Yes. Begin. Again. This time I made it two days before I had to start over. Maybe next time I will make it a day longer. Or a week. Or 17 days.
There’s only one way to find out…