I am a voice and body coach. I help people enjoy the act of speaking in public (imagine that!) as well as teach people how to grow their authentic leadership presence. This work starts by looking at the conscious and unconscious choices you are making in how you use your voice and body language. But with this work, something inevitably happens–life begins to percolate through.

With clients, we’ll start by talking about physical choices, but end up talking about the life choices that led to the physical. Our life choices actually manifest in such things as our posture, the volume of our voice, the gestures that guard vulnerable parts of our body. We could even go so far as to say, our life choices  (what we’ll call commitments) are the seeds of many of our physical habits. 

So, how do we identify our commitments? And, once we do, how do we create permanent, positive change? What follows is a process that I use with clients that comes directly from Paula Shaw, the author and leader of my favorite workshop at Esalen Institute, The Max (themaxwithpaulashaw.com). I found this process to be simple and straight forward but revelatory and powerful in it’s ability to catalyze dramatic change. 

Let’s take a recent example from my own life. I have wanted to launch a website for years.  (Spoiler alert, it’s now done, shameless self promotion: rebeccacmartin.com) Why has a website taken me so long? Unbeknownst to even myself, until I took some time to do this process, I had been very busy committing to saying that I wanted to create a website and not doing it. In other words, if you were to simply judge from the results of my actions, you could honestly say that I had been committed to talking about a website but not creating a website. That would be a fair statement. Once I was able to see this about myself, I was motivated to create change.

In going through this process, I also realized that I had been committed to quite a few beliefs that “helped” me with my larger commitment: I’m not tech-savvy. I don’t look good in pictures. I’m better in person. I’m not ready. I don’t have anything new to say. I don’t deserve to have my own website. Etc. In essence, I had been working very hard to convince myself not to launch a website.

So, your turn. What are you committed to? You might be reading this post because……

You are committed to reading personal growth blogs. You are committed to your psychological health. You are committed to a vision for your life that is bigger and better than what you’re experiencing now. You are committed to seeking an answer.

You are probably also committed to….

Eating healthy food, sleeping 8 hrs a night, loving your partner, being good to those around you and to yourself, yoga, meditation etc. Or, are you really?

Let’s look a little deeper. What could an outside observer say that you are in fact committed to?

Being on your computer 6+ hours a day. (It’s what you do, right? So it’s a commitment!) Searching the web and not doing the items on your to do list. Spending more than you have. Credit cards. Saying you are going to drink more water, and not drinking more water. (In fact, you are committed to 3 cups of coffee a day.) Saying you’ll wake up and exercise and not doing it. Having clothes in your drawer that you don’t wear. Buying what you don’t need. Being late to work in the morning. Being late, period. Etc etc…

Yup! Once you get the ball rolling, it’s easier to come up with more negatives than positives. So, all sorts of commitments are involved in getting us places and doing things, and being somebody and ultimately, accomplishing amazing things in this world! Commitments are important. Commitments are powerful. They have the power to build the life that we dream of, or to keep us locked into patterns that don’t serve us.

Now, pick up a pen and paper and write down the answer(s) to the following question: What are you committed to? Flesh it out. Give yourself the big picture of all of your commitments, positive and negative, and especially try to see your commitments from an outside perspective. Go.

So, what did you learn?

Now, what do you do when you realize that you have made commitments that are not serving you? Here’s what I do:

  1. Bring awareness to my commitments and acknowledge them for being what they are (no judgement). A thing is what it is.

  2. Look at your overall vision for yourself and ask: Which of these commitments are not serving my vision for myself and my life?

  3. Use choice and self-discipline to pick ONE commitment to turn around per week. Each time that commitment comes up, give yourself the assignment to make the new choice that serves you and your goals.

  4. Repeat steps 1-3.

We are all a big ball of commitments and no one can define exactly where they’ve come from. Many of them are from our environment–the way we were raised, our communities, our education, our work environments, our home lives. It’s not entirely our fault that we’re built this way!  AND it’s important and empowering to recognize that we have the ability to change.

Working with your commitments in this way can be done on your own or with a coach. Something as simple as a weekly check-in can ensure that progress starts happening now. Bring awareness to your personal commitments, begin to dream and develop a vision for where you’d like to get to and let’s create a game plan to help you get there.

This is one path I don’t think you’ll mind committing to.