I made a picture collage of my year in review today, like every other typical American female between the ages of 14-35. I was proud to show off a few huge milestones that occurred in this treacherous year. For example, I said yes to the man I’ve always dreamt about, so that’s enough for an Insta collage in itself! However, I’m excited to see 2016 kick the curb and I’m welcoming the New Year with open arms and shots of tequila. I’m ready for the new adventure that ensues once we make our annual way past Go. I’m looking forward to the world of married, indebted college graduate status and what that means for my family (of fur children). Why am I so eager to welcome the unknown? To turn a chapter in this 25-year-old book? Well, hear me out.
This next year, I’ve made a goal of change, of enthusiasm, of resolve, of healing, and most significantly, of commitment.
For me, 2017 means commitment in all parts of my life. To commit literally means to “put oneself under a particular obligation.” In other words, to dedicate ourselves to doing something. For all of you commitment-phobes out there, I think this is something even YOU can get behind. I’m not saying the root to all happiness is found in a sexual, emotional commitment made with someone you’re attracted to like you’ve typically heard the word used. I think we can all benefit if we stop to think about what commitment truly means and how it fits into our individual lives.
I’m committing my life to someone, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. I take this commitment very seriously and it’s something that I’m steadily preparing for. (Side note: for all my engaged or committed couples, please read Dr. Chapman’s works on prepping your relationship. You won’t regret it.) I’ve found someone that makes that commitment seem natural, comforting, and electrifying all at the same time. When he asked me if I was willing to accept this commitment, I didn’t hesitate because it was something my heart knew I wanted before my stubborn head allowed me to recognize it months prior to that special day. But, if I haven’t lost you yet, that’s not what my New Year is about, surprisingly. See, making my commitment to my future husband came easily to me because it’s something that my soul, body, and mind want in my life. He is my other half, quite literally, and I would be lost without this human.
So, what about the commitments that suck? For example, have you ever signed up to help a friend move and come the day of, you desperately wish you had ANY excuse to get out of it, even wishing sickness on yourself during those despairing times? I most certainly have. I have signed up for extra shifts and immediately hated myself. I’ve taken on multiple volunteer projects and found myself sleep-deprived. But, when I look back at why I dreaded the small commitments I had made, I realized that it was because I hadn’t made a single commitment at all.
If I were making commitments, I would have whole-heartedly dedicated myself to the things I set out to do. If my attitude had changed from “have to do” to “dedicating myself to,” I’m certain that my results would have been much less painful and much more fulfilling. This year, I’m going to focus on that aspect of myself and how I can truly become a committed person, to each and every obligation I participate in. I wanted to try the mantra of “motivation” as my 2017 goal, but that requires adding something that I don’t readily have, otherwise I wouldn’t need to add any.
I don’t want to be motivated to work out, I want to be committed to feeling better physically and spiritually. I don’t want to motivate myself to finish my school work, I want to be committed to finishing my graduate program at the best of my ability. I don’t want to be motivated to go to work, I want to be committed to being the best employee possible. I don’t want motivate myself to work on my relationship, I want to be committed to making my relationship a priority above all else.
So, maybe what we need is to stop looking at things like an unwanted obligation. Instead, if we focus on what WE can bring to the table, the year is spent bettering ourselves rather than competing against ourselves. I am looking forward to the opportunity to commit myself to things that have positive results, despite the struggle that it might require to attain them. I’m not going to focus on the result of my commitment, but rather the choice I’ve made to achieve something and how I can work towards that every day. I know there are going to be hard days, days that I wish I had never made the commitment to giving up soft drinks. But, I’m not going to allow myself to give up on something just because it’s difficult. After all, if we looked at each commitment we made as “until death do us part,” it’s safe to say we wouldn’t need resolutions.