how do you maintain your pledge to reprioritize?

July 6, 2010

in life,wellness

does this sound familiar? while on vacation, you pledge that when you return home you’ll work fewer hours or pick up that hobby you used to be so passionate about. or someone you know dies prematurely, prompting you to hug someone, call your mom, and determine that certain things have to change. even as you do this, you know that over a space of time—days, maybe weeks—you’ll revert to your customary habits.

i ricocheted from vacation to a memorial service within the space of 12 hours, so this cycle of ours is on my mind. i’m not interested in delving into the pyschology behind why we need vacation, death, or a crisis to jolt us into an assessment of how we’re living our lives. but i am keen to learn how others live up to these watershed moment pledges. following the memorial service, i counseled a friend rocked by a serious car crash and this service to finally make some long-put-off changes to start with two manageable commitments.

and you—

  • how do you make good on your internal promises?
  • what tips and tricks can you share with me and others?


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason July 6, 2010 at 8:47 am

In my experience, imagining the needed change is the easy part. To stick to it, there are two things that work really well for me:

1. Write down what you intend to do. The simple act of committing it to paper is a powerful catalyst to get you started.
2. Tell other people about your commitments. Harness the power of peer pressure to keep you going when you want to give up or rationalize your way out of the commitments. The psychological contract created through peer pressure is one of the most useful goal keeping tools there is.

Nothing too revolutionary here, but it’s what works for me.


mark July 6, 2010 at 9:10 am

one of my pledges is to not miss my kids’ childhood. i’ve heard too many people say it goes too quickly (and they’re 100 percent right).

so before i go to bed every night, i check in on them and see them sleeping (no matter how old they get). i think they look so peaceful and beautiful when they sleep that i quickly forget how crazy they drove me during the day, and it reminds me of what’s most important. instant attitude adjustment.


fran July 6, 2010 at 12:11 pm

jason, maybe not revolutionary, but your points are part of any good action plan. telling your friends not only harnesses any pressure, but also wrangles their support and interest in your progress, which is a huge help when you hit those inevitable bumps.

mark, i know exactly what you’re talking about! when we had terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, watching our toddler girls sleep *always* put me in a better frame of mind. and now, in the quiet before the teen-driven no good days return, watching them sleep does put everything in perspective.



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