I told a lie.
On a recent episode of The JuiceCast, the podcast I co-host, the question arose: What commitments do you have the hardest time keeping? I replied that I have the hardest time keeping commitments I make to my wife just before I go to sleep, because I never remember them the next day.
That wasn’t so, although it runs a close second. I should keep a notepad and a pen on my bedside table so I can write those things down, and then I won’t forget them. In fact, I’m going to do just that.
But I won’t.
You see what I did there? I made a commitment to myself, but I’m already pretty sure I won’t keep it even though it seems like a sensible thing to do that could make my life easier.
The hardest commitments, for me, are the ones I make to myself. Losing weight, getting fit, cleaning more often, looking for more or better work—you know, all the classics. I’ll get to the gym, I’ll ride my bike, I’ll vacuum every week, I’ll quit fast food and oatmeal raisin cookies. I’ll write a blog every week, I’ll pound the pavements, I’ll get regular gigs. So why don’t I?
1) I Make Excuses. I’m sick this week. Something else came up. I’ll get to it later. Just this once. It’s easy to put off things by saying something else is more important. Maybe it is, but if I let one thing derail me, then I know it’s okay to derail myself for that reason and go looking for it.
2) I’d Rather Be Fishing. No I wouldn’t, because I hate fishing. But I would rather be reading, or watching Netflix, or playing Xbox or a million other things. Thing is, I learned early in my marriage that I can’t ignore my wife or kids in favor of those other things—so why is it okay to ignore myself?
3) Self-Comparison. My skillz aren’t all that. That other guy is way better than me. Somebody already had this idea and did it better. It’s a pitfall of working alone that I have few on-the-spot cheerleaders, or even supervisors to give me a reality check.
4) I’m a Free Spirit! I don’t need schedules, or routines, or working hours! Those hold me back. I work when the inspiration strikes! Problem is, most people get the hard work done when they have to do it, not when they feel like it.
5) I Quit. I didn’t see the results I wanted. It was too hard. Why bother? It was a dumb idea anyway. When the going gets tough, a lot of freelancers give up.
When I look at it like that, it seems like I’ve been behaving kind of badly to myself, which pisses me off. I mean, who do I think I am? My employee is a jerk, really. So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m getting up from this keyboard and putting a notepad and pen on my bedside table, right now.
Hey, you have to start somewhere.