At the tail end of 2019, I had the opportunity to interview David Schnurman for my Synced Life podcast. David is the author of The Fast Forward Mindset and has a deep passion for motivating others to live outside of their comfort zone and to have laser focus on their aspirations. What inspired me most about our conversation was David’s unwavering commitment to his word. As he states in his book and in our interview, when he commits to something, it happens, no question.
Before this conversation, I had been reflecting for a few weeks about my own relationship with my word, sensing it had become wobbly. Too often than not, I would make a commitment—go to Kung Fu, call someone back, finish a project, run an errand—and at some point in the day I would renege. I could see it everywhere.
In my experience, when I get wishy washy about following through on what I have given my word to, it becomes a slippery slope. It might start with my morning exercise routine but then I start to get lazy and loose in other areas, such as food and projects.
For most of us, keeping our commitments to others is a non-issue. Where we struggle is the promises we make to ourselves. A mentor of mine once described integrity as the promises we keep when no one is looking. When we constantly break our promises to ourselves, our integrity muscle starts to weaken. Commitment, I’ve come to discover, is a skill like empathy and patience; it needs to be practiced and strengthened. David’s words about his relationship to commitment came at the perfect time. I needed a reboot in this area of my life.
And so, the idea for the commitment journal was born.
I purchased a 2020 spiral-bound agenda, one that would normally be used to track appointments. Each night before I fall asleep, I list my commitments for the next day. This includes things like meditation, stretching and exercising plus anything else I’ve been inspired to create new habits around in 2020. Some days there might be one thing on the list, some days five, some days zero. I look to the day ahead and think “what can I realistically commit to?” and then I compile my commitments accordingly.
Filling in the next day’s space is not a mindless act because once something is written in my commitment journal, it will be done. I’ve made an agreement with myself that there is absolutely no wavering on a commitment once it is written in the journal. Zero. So, I choose my commitments wisely and thoughtfully.
What I’ve realized is, it actually doesn’t matter what I write in my commitment journal. I could write “chew gum” or “clap my hands three times.” While I don’t fill my list with these trivial things, I’m aware that the power is not in what I gave my word to, it’s in the fact that I keep my word.
Integrity is a superpower. When we become someone that keeps his or her word, not only to others but to ourselves, we become more whole and as a result, more powerful. We cultivate the sense of being unstoppable. We learn that we can rely on and trust ourselves.
I’ve lost count of the number of things I have followed through on since I started this practice, things I previously may have flaked out on. When I follow through on something I gave my word to, I walk taller, I feel prouder. Not a single person knows what I said I’d do or that I did it. But I know. And I get to experience a tiny shift that actually has a seismic impact. Want to become unstoppable? Create a new relationship with commitment and there’s no telling where you could go.