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October 7, 2015

15 Commitments? Do I have to do all of these?

Fifteen commitments?! You’re probably thinking, “I can barely keep one!” I used to think that fifteen was a lot, too. And it is when you don’t completely understand how they all work together. Let me explain.

The first two commitments; taking one hundred percent responsibility and committing to curiosity instead of being right are the cornerstone commitments. Being willing to own all that is occurring in our life, and then being willing to be curious about it instead of judging and “shoulding” all over the place are primary actions to increasing our ability to stay present in our lives. If all you did were practice these two, you would be golden.  

Then, there are the next four. Think of these as a foundation. If you build these into the practice and art of your life, you’re starting to gain some momentum with some great skills in communicating with others and being more in touch with yourself.

Then there are numbers seven through fifteen. These are the superstructure commitments and take our whole existence to the next level as conscious humans on the planet.

But, again, do we need to use all of them? No. There is also research that supports an approach of choosing what we feel might work best for us.  Schueller (2014) recommends bearing in mind our own self-proclaimed “fit” for any type of change or approach that we may want to incorporate into our lives. His research examined the person-activity fit model in which an individual’s self-reported “fit” for a given approach was considered with therapeutic interventions. It is demonstrated that there is longer continued practice over time as well as decreases in negative mood when the exercise or approach corresponds to our self-reported “fit.” Now that makes total sense. If we don’t like something that we are doing, we aren’t likely to stick with it for very long. Also, we are more likely to stay with something when we choose to do it if it feels natural for us to do, we would enjoy doing it, and find value in it versus feeling guilty for not doing it or only doing it when the situation demanded us to do so (Lyubomirsky, 2008). So, the advantage of having fifteen commitments to practice is that there are a lot of choices to meet our own personal fit.

But wait, there is more good news! Practicing any of these commitments regularly will be of value to improving your relationships and your engagement at work. My personal favorite is commitment number three: feeling my feelings all they way through to completion.  I learned that one of the patterns that showed up in my life was that I would avoid feeling fear or sadness and push through to the next activity, completely not present to what was happening in the moment. Does this sound familiar? I can’t tell you all of the reasons that practicing this commitment works well for me, but I do enjoy the practice of it. If you’re wondering how to feel your feelings fully, watch this video on emotions and feelings. But, enough about my feelings and which commitment I really enjoy.

Which commitment do you like or which one really freaks you out? Let me know. We would love to hear about it.

References:

Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The how of happiness: A scientific approach to getting the life you want. New York: Penguin Press.

Schueller, S. M. (2014). Person-activity fit in positive psychological interventions. In A.

C. Parks  & S. M. Schueller (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Positive Psychological Interventions (pp. 385-402). Chichester, UK: Wiley Blackwell.

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