Your Commitments Are All Wrong

Luke Acree

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Everyone is striving. We all harbor certain ideals. Some ideals pertain to society—the way we think things should be, or the way things would be if all was well. Then there are the ideals that we apply to ourselves—imaginary images where we are at our best.

Reaching that highest version is possible, only it takes an incredible amount of commitment. Making the resolution and sparking the change is easy. Following through and displaying devotion to improvement has long been one of humanity’s greatest challenges.

True progress is slow. In a world of instant gratification, where satisfying the urges we want to do away with is far easier than cultivating the habits we want to ritualize, we seem to vacillate between whole-hearted commitment to our ideal and abruptly abandoning it. We spend some time feeling disgusted with ourselves, then we settle into the void, then grow tired of the effects of laziness, recommit, and quit again. For most of us, this is the cycle. Then we die.

Understand, we’re all committed to something, and if you feel your life is tainted by an inability to commit, try and reexamine the nature of the primary issue. It’s not that you can’t commit, you are simply committed to quick rewards and easy pleasures that require little of you. You get your moment of instant gratification then spend triple the time regretting it. You have been calibrated to satiate your desire for success with moments of shallow contentment.

Understand you don’t lack commitment; you have simply committed to the wrong kind of satisfaction. The work is easy and the reward is short-lived. Often the reward is overshadowed by feelings of compunction and regret. When we commit to real work we achieve true success. There will be setbacks, because real victory requires real effort. In the words of Winston Churchill, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.”

Engage in introspection. Find out what you’re committed to and ask yourself if you can do better. By the end of January, resolutions start to fall by the wayside because people regress to their old ways. Backsliding to the status quo of cheap thrills and minute victories takes a toll, and soon we look back on the past and live in regret, constantly sacrificing the present moment to lament missed opportunities long gone.

Commit to something true, the thing deep within you that has driven your mind’s desire. Let it start to drive your actions. Be the best version of yourself by performing an audit on all your whys. Use that data as the basis of your plan from now on, and commit to something worthy of your best effort.

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