On Learning How to Commit

If you can commit to just one thing, it’ll start a domino affect

Sarah Aboulhosn
The Startup


Image by Sarah Aboulhosn

There once was a little girl who wanted to learn how to bake. She had seen a news segment about a child baker prodigy and immediately felt a rush of inspiration. She knew at that moment that baking was her calling. She would learn to bake and set up a bake sale in my neighborhood and then end up on the Today Show. Her parents, thrilled she was interested in such a feminine and domestic hobby, bought her an Easy Bake oven for Christmas. For the next two weeks she baked and baked and baked.

To be fair, it was a total of like 6 cookies. It turns out that a lightbulb inside of a plastic box isn’t actually an oven. I still don’t fully understand how Easy Bake still convinces kids that cooking fake batter with a lightbulb for AN HOUR to make a single cookie is fun.

A month later the Easy Bake was on the back porch being rained on because she had left out on the counter too long and dad was “tired of looking at it.” But by then she had moved on to other things. More specifically, her career as a carpet weaver. Yes, she had also gotten a carpet weaving kit that went completely forgotten until the Easy Bake high wore off. Her tiny entrepreneurial mind automatically raced at the thought of how many people would want to buy this hand woven rug out of a kit that has a snowman on it.

Obviously, neither of these situations were tell-tale signs of future commitment issues. Kids are pretty fickle but one can only wonder if this nasty habit of non-committal planted itself in my head early on as I gave up on one project after another always in search of my next hobby, the one that was going to change everything for me. Always chasing.

Why is it so hard for some of us to commit to things?

I wish I could say it took an a-ha moment or some therapeutic break through to realize that I have serious commitment issues, but I’ve known this for a long time. I don’t even like committing to plans because who knows what the day will hold. Needless to say this mindset is problematic and I’ve been searching for the underlying reason.

It comes down to feeling like I’m constantly chasing something that could or could not be real. It manifests in all aspects of life.

But in an effort to be a better person and grow continually, I decided to look at things I’ve actually committed to. It turns out I’ve commited to a few things without even realizing it. I want to track down the process I followed to form the habit?

What makes me stick to certain things and how can I harness that energy and apply it to other aspects of my life?

An example.

I’ve been on what I like to call a skincare journey. A few years ago I was frustrated with my skin but was too lazy to stick to a skincare regime. I would buy products, use them for a week then go back to my sad and lazy ‘make-up wipe before bed’ routine. I had really good products too. But they would sit there for months untouched until eventually they would get that weird crust at the top and I’d throw it out. Now 2 years later, I literally cut the bottle open to get every last drop out. I have a full routine that i commit too doing every single day. One day I woke up and had ran out of product for the first time in my life and that was when I had actually committed to following this routine for an extended period of time. I don’t how when it happened or how it happened but I unintentionally committed to something and followed through with it.

Something I realized from the skincare example is that it’s mostly about committing to a certain action. Almost like allowing it to become muscle memory. And thinking less about the specifics. I’m not committed to specific products but I know I have to cleanse and moisturize every day. Eventually from sticking to the routine lone enough, I learned which products I liked, what worked and what didn’t.

Earlier this year (so, 2 weeks ago) I told myself I was going to publish writing 5 days a week. That sentence hadn’t even left my mouth when I already knew I wasn’t going to commit to it. (A terrible mindset to have but I’m working through it) A recurring theme I’ve noticed in the “writing community” is to just write. That’s the magic advice. If you want to be a writer just write. Even if you think you have nothing good to say, just write and something will come.

There may be something to it though. Even taking the time to create the commitment in my mind helps to keep me accountable. A quick glance on my account will reveal that I haven’t committed to publishing everyday. But I’m publishing more than I was a month ago. And every week I’ll work on getting closer to that 5x a week mark. Pretty soon it will be like washing my face.

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Sarah Aboulhosn
The Startup

Occasional writer, and serial project-starter/abandoner. I have a lot of feelings.