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Making a commitment entails action.   We make a choice, make a resolution, decide on some daily action that might improve our life.  Then what?  The days come, the days go, life gets in the way.  The initial impulse to do something new fades as we get back into our habitual routines, and before we know it our so-called commitment falls by the wayside…. but wait, does it have to?

Kenneth Atchity, in A Writer’s Time says that the Desire must be strong, or the Will will not serve.  I’ve always believed that, but more and more  I think that doing something new is not just about desire.  To change our habits, our Will needs to be strong in itself.  To stay focused in the presence of life’s challenges requires a daily choice, and the will to act even when the desire is low.

Desire comes and goes.  We need to ask… what is the deeper motivation? Why did we make a commitment to this particular daily action?  And then beyond the Why, we simply need to act.

It’s like walking up a mountain with no path – the first few times there are many obstacles.  Branches to move, low trees to stumble over, rotting logs and small tangled bushes in the way.  We spend a lot of time looking down, stepping over or moving things, creating a new path.

Gradually our steps and actions wear a new groove.  In a few months time, we have a beautiful clear path, an easier way up the mountain. We can relax and enjoy the view.  The walk becomes joyful, effortless.  We see things we never knew were there.

It’s the same with building new habits.  At first, it is difficult.  We’re creating new paths in our brains and bodies.  It takes attention, effort, focus. But if we do it anyway, then one day after all that practice we suddenly realize we are enjoying ourselves! Our actions become joyful, just part of our lives.  Our view expands – We see things we never knew were there!

But what about those excuses?

Oh, how they rise up when we begin to create new habits!  Here were some of my excuses not to practice yoga yesterday:

  • there is no room in the little trailer I live in
  • it’s cold outside, and the only snow free place is on a cement pad
  • i have to go to work
  • i have to do my laundry before i travel
  • my right shoulder hurts, and that pulled hamstring is acting up
  • i don’t feel good today, didn’t sleep well last night, need to eat first, gotta walk the dog….

Right.  Excuses, excuses.  This morning, I didn’t want to get out of bed.  Then I didn’t want to write.  I felt too grumpy, and I had nothing to say.  Then I didn’t want to walk the dog.  Too cold.  Didn’t want to do any yoga.  Too cold, no space, see yesterday’s excuses.

Do It Anyway.

The coffee made getting out of bed worthwhile.  mmmm…. coffeee….

Took the dog out for his run, and came back feeling exhilarated from the sunny cold.  Dog is happy and relaxed, making for a more relaxed environment in which to write.

I wrote despite my resistance, and this blog is the result.  Maybe its too wordy, and maybe no one wants to read it, but here it is.  Done.  Promise to self fulfilled.

And I’m about to roll out my mat. Yoga calls, and I know how good I will feel when I’m finished.

That’s the thing, isn’t it?  When we make promises to ourselves and don’t follow through, there is this sense of something undone that just sets up there on our shoulders.   We’ve got to look at all our excuses, laugh, and then just do it.  Now is what we’ve got.  Do it, get it done, and move on to the next now.  Trust me, it feels really good.

Most Outrageous Excuse – Whatcha got?

I am not usually one for passing along videos of commercials, but this one is good – check out these excuses, and be sure to watch all the way to the end:

So now… whats your excuse?  List your favorites.  Add them in the comments – let’s see who has the most outrageous excuses! When we put them out there, love them and laugh at them, they lose power over us.

And after you’ve listed your most outrageous excuses –  Go.  Just do it.  Whatever your daily commitment is, just do it.   Take a deep breath, act, and feel the joy of fulfilling your promises to yourself.

Ah.  The marvelous sense of completion.

Life is Good.