Stephen Covey defines integrity simply as the ability to make and keep commitments. I love the definition as it simplifies the oft-used term and conveys the real essence.
And, at the end of the day, what is life if not just an endless string of commitments? To family, colleagues, clients, friends and probably most important of all, to ourselves.’
And, if life is but an endless string of commitments, the habit of re-commitment all of a sudden becomes immensely important, for a commitment only stays a commitment when we constantly re-commit to it.
Take exercise, for example. We never just decide to exercise and then end up doing it happily ever after. (I wish…) No, we commit to the idea and then work on a plan for as long as possible. After a while, a change in our routines might call for a new plan. Commit. Re-commit. Re-commit. Re-commit.. and so on.
I find this natural cycle when I take a look at my life over a period of a year. The easiest way to observe this is to look at my little projects i.e. lovingly known as my ‘initiatives’ outside work. I have cycles of low energy and high energy that each last a 6-8 weeks at a stretch. During periods of low energy, I attempt very less and do just what’s necessary beyond work.
When I sense a period of high energy, I immediately end up taking on more, lot more than I should. And, when I do this, I naturally continue with the same mode of operation from the low energy phase. And then, more often than not, I hit a wall thanks to have attempted too many things and having hit saturation point with current methods.
That’s when it’s time to re-commit again, work harder, do more, attempt more etc. This lasts a few weeks before it’s time to wind down again. It’s a lovely cycle in retrospect as the ups and downs are predictable in their occurrence while being unpredictable in their nature and timing.
I felt like I hit such a wall today. Having been through this many times, I can recognize the frustration and restlessness that comes with it very well. This calls for a re-commitment over the next 4-5 weeks and a requirement to change gears and work with a new approach. Should be exciting!
The process of re-commitment makes all the difference in the world. The most wonderful part about re-commitment is that it doesn’t make a long term commitment feel like a daunting endless stretch. You take it in bite sized chunks. I am re-committing to the way I spend my weekends eg: not going to take my 24 hours off email on Saturdays, for example but only doing so for 4 weeks. After that, it’ll be time to review and re-commit.
This is a lesson I realize I should take forward onto everything else I do in life, too. Remind myself to re-commit in my friendships, close relationships, at work and the like. The only way to keep long term commitments is to renew and refresh every once in a while. And, as I can testify, just the process of doing so makes all the difference in the world.
How would I go about doing that? That’s a thinker for now.. hopefully a blog post in the future. :-)