I’ve been writing a book for nearly two years now, which sounds absolutely homicidal when I say it out loud. I mean, let’s be honest: most of my romantic relationships haven’t even lasted that long. (OKAY FINE, UNTIL NOW, BECAUSE THE LOS AND I ARE ON, LIKE, YEAR #BAZILLION.)
I’ve learned a lot about commitment, these last two years, which means I’ve also learned a lot about myself. (For example, apparently I know jack shit about hyphens. Who knew?)
But do you how I’ve discovered I tango best with that wiley, smooth-talking little romeo, commitment?
By telling him exactly how it’s gonna be.
I can’t help but feel that most of us are scared of committing ourselves—to a business, a project, an idea—because it’s this BIG, HAIRY SCARY OVERLORD that has the potential to take over your entire life and God forbid, what if you dedicate your entire everything to something, and then it doesn’t work out? When we talk about stuff like this in Unf*ckwithable Girlfriends, one of the things that comes up time and time again is this idea that committing yourself is scary as hell—so much so that, in fact, I almost get this image of commitment barging into your house like a controlling, possessive lover, demanding that you pay all of your attention to them, and no one else, and that you pledge your everlasting loyalty, here and now, before rolling out with matching butt tattoos.
WHICH. OF. COURSE. IS. TERRIFYING.
We run screaming from those situations every time, don’t we? (I mean, I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve been coerced into matching butt tattoos.) But I think the real reason we’re actually so bad at committing ourselves is because of the pressure to almost cancel everything else in our lives in order to qualify as “really committed.” There’s a perception that you can’t be committed to something unless you are uncommitted to everything else; that it’s an if/or situation; that you aren’t “really” committed unless you’re leaping into a pit of fire shouting, “IN THE NAME OF THIS ONE THING, AND THIS ONE THING ONLYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!”
But that’s not true. It’s a warped definition. Bogus. Wrong. Defective. (And fire pits only happen in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.)
Because while I can testify to the fact that, holy thigh cellulite, commitment does require you to show up, it doesn’t have to make you a martyr, either. You don’t have to wake up and say:
I’m writing a book and so clearly I must devote my every waking minute to this thing or else it’s not going to work and I’m not really “invested”!!!!
I’m writing a book for three hours every single morning. Come hell or high water, those three hours are for THAT.
And in doing so, you give your commitment healthy boundaries. And you tell it exactly how it’s gonna be. Which, in turn, can help you STAY committed, because you aren't freaking out that you’re dropping ALL THE OTHER BALLS IN THE NAME OF THIS ONE, but rather, incorporating this very important ball into your routine in a meaningful way that required no debate. Because three hours is three hours is three hours. There’s nothing to argue there. That’s your commitment. And guess what?
This is how discipline is born.
Not because you’re “hustling” away your every waking moment, but because you’ve carved out special moments into your day to hustle for the things that matter most. And then, instead of always feeling overwhelmed, you start to look forward to those special moments, knowing you can fully devote yourself without the guilt trip.
Maybe the way we become better at committing ourselves isn’t by praying, but planning.
And maybe the way we become the kind of person that did is simply by agreeing to the plan.