Why is October “Commitment Month”?
I had an epiphany recently as three thoughts about commitment collided in my brain:
- It’s the beginning of the fourth quarter, Q4. The last run up before the new year, the final stretch towards achieving any annual goal you might have set for yourself or your business waaaaay back in January.
- I am an Enneagram 7. The “Optimist”. I’ve known this for a while, and have worked to “overcome” the limitations of my “seven-ness”. I recently awakened to the pathway of “commitment” as key to the 7’s journey to wholeness and TRUE freedom, which is what a 7 really wants (thanks to Ben Saltzman’s hilarious video on the 9 Enneagram types, and his own story of the joy and pain of being a 7 himself).
- It is one year since I made two very important and life-changing commitments. It is time to re-commit to both of these life-long commitments. Last October 2013, I committed to my health and fitness – and to “finally” losing the extra weight, for good. Which I did. Later that month, after 10 years together, my life partner Dave and I committed to get married (something I never thought I would do). Which we did.
My eyes flew open as I awoke to this thought: I already know how to “do” commitment. How I successfully lost those 20 or so pounds in a short period, and keep them off while building strength and fitness proved it to me.
I realized in that moment that I had inadvertently created a perfect three-part commitment structure that worked for me – even as a 7 who resists structure – and one that I can immediately start using in my business, starting with Q4.
This three-part commitment structure begins with a declaration.
1. The Declaration: Making the Commitment.
You see, when I committed to my health & fitness last October, it really began with a declaration. A spontaneous declaration to my mastermind sisters that erupted out of deep dissatisfaction with where I was physically (and because I had “nothing else” ready to discuss when my turn came around).
My declaration was this: “I’ve had it. I never want to be here again.”
I had been in the best shape of my life in my early 40s, at my ideal weight. Then I broke my foot. I slacked off and over the next 5 years slowly put on 20 pounds (or more, who knows? I stopped weighing myself 😐 ).
I did NOT want to enter my 50s in that place.
That felt huge – hugely important. I could really feel that I took a major stand that day. I actually was standing when I said it, as I tend to do when I’m speaking on the phone in my office. That declaration was rooted in my body.
I had also tapped into my Big Why. Why this commitment was – and is – important to me. (see Simon Sinek’s Ted talk)
Lesson #1: Declare your commitment powerfully! Plant your stake in the ground. Take a power pose and state your commitment out loud!
2. Support Structures: Keeping the Commitment
Here’s where it got spooky. The very next day (I am not kidding), a book I’d requested months before, arrived for me at my local library: The Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy.
Yeah, it was TIME. And the timing couldn’t have been better for that book to arrive. Because it gave me structure – a system. And the best kind of structure & system for me, as a 7 (who notoriously resist structure as “too confining”, “too limiting”).
• Time-limited: the FMD is a 28 day program is based on a 2-2-3 four week structure. Two days high carb, moderate protein, no fat; two days high protein, moderate carb, no fat; three days moderate everything (hello weekend!).
• Proven: Pomroy’s science background appealed to my values for education, rigour and proven results with clients. The FMD really delivered. It worked for me!
• Tracking: The FMD and its results really kicked in for me when I discovered The FMD App. The FMD App gave me the daily structure – like a food journal only better, it reminded me what was on the agenda for each day and what foods to choose from. The App made it easy to track my daily food and water intake, as well as exercise, and my overall progress towards my goal.
• Community: Having a community of support and/or an accountability partner is a HUGE part of keeping a commitment. I made good use of the FMD online community forum, where members share their adaptations of recipes for specific needs (e.g. gluten-free, vegan/vegetarian, etc.).
• Challenging: The FMD worked for me because it challenged me too (and most 7s will love a good challenge!).
Let me be clear: the FMD is no fly-by-night “eat as much bacon as you like” program, or eat only pineapple on Thursdays. It is a ton of work. A lot of advance preparation (or you’ll find yourself snaky with hunger without the right things ready on the right day, and want to devour everything in sight). The FMD is no easy fix program – but a conscious investment of my energy, focus, intention and time. It’s not for everyone.
Lesson #2:: Keeping Commitments Needs Structural Supports.
What resources do you need to support your commitment? Support your capacity to meet that commitment?
Oh my, yes. We need that support!
3. Re-Committing, Over and Over: Sustaining the Commitment
Naturally, I couldn’t rest on my laurels after completing the FMD and achieving my weight-loss goal, or any day after that. Sustaining my results required ongoing attention. Tapping back into my declaration, my Big Why, keeping track of where I am today – and every day. Not obsessively mind you. Just noticing and being aware of where I might slip into old patterns – thoughts, beliefs, actions – that don’t support my commitment. And returning to those that do.
Those same structures, systems and support that helped me get where I wanted to be over those 28 days continue to help me to re-commit, as do a few new ones.
The FMD App helped me re-commit to my goal and progress every single day while I was on the 28 day program – even several times a day as I reviewed it for meal preparation, and completed my meal entries.
Now, the entire program plus the App keep me on track whenever I need to return to its principles – hello holiday indulgences! If you just celebrated Thanksgiving with family and friends, and the abundance of turkey, pie and other delectables, wine…well, you know what I’m talking about!
Coming back to my commitment, over and over again, and to the system and supports that I have in place, helps me get back on track when I need some help to reinforce all those good patterns – thoughts, beliefs, actions – that support my commitment.
Which is why I am here, one year later – re-committing to my Declaration and my Big Why. Even adjusting it to reflect what matters more to me now: that I am building strength to last for a life-time of fun, physical activity that fits my overall LifeStyle Vision. (More on this and other “towards”planning and goals in later posts.)
Lesson #3: Commitment needs reinforcement.Tending. Nurturing. Even poking and prodding: Are you still committed to this? Is this still what you want? Is it still aligned with your values? Your Big Why? Your purpose? What has changed?
Where can you implement this in your life? In your business?
What is one thing you can commit to, for just 28 days, that will shift your thoughts, your beliefs, or your actions?
What is your declaration? Your Big Why?
Notice what resources show up to support you when you make a powerful declaration.
Post your commitment below – let us bear witness to your declaration!