Friday, November 18, 2011

Commitments, Right or Wrong

Day 8 of 365 Tiny Changes

Today is the one week anniversary of the first posting of my blog.  I feel like a proud parent.  You know, them, too.  When asked how old their baby is they answer in number of days...7 days, 180 days, 3254 days.

My baby is 8 days old today and I am celebrating.

I have been involved in a community of sorts called Life Success Seminars ( since the year 2000.  One of their “sayings” goes something like this.  “My success is in direct proportion to the commitments I make and keep.”  I may be paraphrasing a bit, but the message is still there.

I have made one huge commitment.  To create a dramatically more successful life in 365 days.  I decided to accomplish this by making one tiny change each day.

I’ve mentioned earlier that I am a self-help book aficionado.  I have read hundreds of them over the last 35 years.  One suggestion that I have run across, more than once, is to set a goal and then track my progress toward the completion of this goal.

What I have experienced is this.  The reason that I am setting a goal is because I’m overwhelmed and looking for a better way to accomplish something.  I am not looking to add another task to my already long list of things to do.  Tracking just seems like another tedious, time consuming, annoyance.

However, when looking at the state of my unfinished business, maybe some of these self-help gurus have a point.

I think one of the reasons that I hate to track my progress on a goal, is because it would also be tracking my lack of progress.  Who wants to track their failures?

Maybe I should be looking at it in a different way.   Maybe I should be looking at the tracking as a source of feedback.  After all, I have made a commitment to myself.  If I’m not keeping the commitment, perhaps there’s a reason.  A bigger reason, than I just didn’t get to it, or I just didn’t have time, or I just didn’t feel like doing it, or any of the other million excuses I could make for myself.

Maybe it’s the wrong commitment.  Maybe it’s not a commitment I’m making to myself, for myself.  Maybe it’s a commitment that I’m making to myself, because I think someone else wants me to make it.
I used to work in an industry that gave me direct contact with home owners, or want-to-be-home owners. 

Over the years I had the opportunity to work with high income clients and low income clients.  I was payed commission based on the amount of money the client could spend, thereby making it more beneficial to me to work with the higher income clients.  My employer, not only payed us based on the amount of money that was spent, but based the majority of the other rewards on this.

Over the years, I found that I was much happier working with the lower income clients.  I felt a bigger sense of fulfillment from working with them.  I also felt I was really helping them, and I know I was much more appreciated by these clients.

Every year we would be asked to set our goals.  It was expected that we would set high dollar goals.  This created the cycle of courting the high income clients over the low income clients, and my being less fulfilled in my job.

For me, being less fulfilled led to less productivity on my behalf, which led to a lower paycheck, and on and on.

Every year I made the commitment for the wrong reason.  It was a commitment that the company wanted me to make for them, not the commitment I wanted to make for me.

In my previous job, I had the opportunity to set my new goal every year, or so I assumed.  In reality, I had the opportunity to set my new goal every day.  Every day is a new day.  We can forget the battles of yesterday, and start renewed, and refreshed every morning. 

Keeping this in mind, I am going to track my progress on a weekly basis.  I am going to call each day an “Opportunity Given”.  I am going to call each task  “Opportunity Taken”.  I will review my successes and my not-so-much successes and determine if I need to make some modifications to my stated tiny changes.  This weekly review will allow me to make adjustments in a timely manner, and keep the feeling of failure at bay, and the celebrations at the forefront.

I’m going to share my tracking with you...that way I’m on the hook, to get it done.

Here is week #1:
                                                                             Opportunities Given    Opportunities Taken
Blog, Daily                                                                          7                                        7
Hug Guy, Daily                                                                  6                                       4
Send Thank You Card, Daily                                           5                                       3
Work On One Unfinished Project, Daily                      4                                       4
Work One Task at a Time, Daily                                    3                                        3
10 Minutes of Gentle Stretching, Daily                         2                                        1
Send Birthday Greetings, As Needed                            1                                         1
Totals                                                                                 27                                       23

Not perfect, but not too bad either.  For a numbers person like me, I’m at an 85% success rate.  Considering it takes 3 weeks to set a habit, I think I’m doing ok, so far.  The Commitments seem to be in line with what I really want to improve in my life.  Good for me.

Tiny Change 8:  Track my progress weekly.  Celebrate the successes and realign the not-so-much successes. 

I hope you take the time to celebrate the successes of your day, your week, your life.  That is what life should be about the celebrations.

Best Regards,


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