Guaranteeing a Certain Kind of Year
One thing I love about interesting commitments is that they can guarantee that I’ll have a certain kind of year.
This requires that I pick a commitment that’s close to 100% under my direct control, so there are no significant risky external points of failure.
This year I guaranteed that I’d do a lot of writing by committing to publishing something new on my blog every day of the year. I guaranteed that it would be a year of high internal reflection and high creative output. I guaranteed that I’d do the equivalent of writing several books through the medium of blogging. These are just the surface aspects of the commitment though.
It’s one thing to look ahead to another year with goals and intentions. But goals and intentions don’t guarantee that you’ll actually have a different kind of year. Truly committing to yourself to the action side is very different than defining some results you’d like to see and hoping for the best. Goals are great, but setting a goal guarantees nothing.
I’ve noticed that something shifts within me when I make a commitment that I take seriously. There’s a moment where the weight of what I’m going to do sinks in because I actually believe and expect that I’m really going to do it. I don’t have to hope for a certain kind of year. It feels like it’s a done deal before it starts. Instead of optimism, I feel certainty.
Even with the unpredictability of the coronavirus situation this year, I never wavered in my daily publishing commitment. That’s because of how I framed the commitment from the start. It’s highly under my control and doesn’t depend much at all on what other people do or don’t do. As long as I can control my actions, I can guarantee that it gets done.
There’s still a risk of failure. I can’t foresee and eliminate every risk, but I can still pre-commit myself. I can give myself some flexibility in how I frame the challenge, so I have some room to navigate unexpected surprises that come up. I can do my best to honor the commitment based on the level of control that I have each day. That’s enough to create some powerful shifts before even beginning.
The Spiritual Guarantee
It’s especially interesting to look at big commitments through a spiritual lens. What kind of year do you want on a spiritual level? What would it take to guarantee that kind of year spiritually? How could you guarantee an elevated spiritual experience by committing yourself at the level of physical action?
Commitments aren’t always what they seem. The daily blogging commitment may appear like it’s a commitment to write a lot, and that part is true. Yes, it’s a mental commitment. But it also guarantees that I explore and test the strength of my connection to inspiration. Based on that aspect, it’s a spiritually different kind of year.
A big part of my motivation for doing this one-year challenge was to see how far I can stretch my relationship with inspiration. What are its limits? Can I tune into this flow of inspiration more frequently than I ever have before? Will I always provide me with ideas whenever I request them? Will I get bored at some point? Does inspiration eventually start to feel routine or predictable? How do I keep the experience fresh with such high frequency?
I got to explore all of these questions this year. It’s been a year of satisfying my spiritual curiosity. I now have a much better understanding of my relationship with inspiration than I ever did before. I took the time to explore many different nuances of this relationship. I strengthened and deepened that relationship this year.
I also pushed this relationship even further by writing 55,000 words of a novel last month in addition to keeping up the daily blogging. And I did this in a way that I enjoyed. I’ve never attempted to write a novel before. That too is a spiritual shift. It permanently changes my relationship with writing and also with inspiration. I now know that my relationship with inspiration can be just as strong with fiction as with nonfiction; I can trust that it’s always there for me. I didn’t have that kind of trust on the fiction side before. This opens up options that I didn’t know I had before this year.
Your Spiritual Year
As you look ahead to next year, what kind of year do you want to have from a spiritual perspective? What does your spirit want to experience and explore?
Once you get clear about those answers, realize that you can claim that kind of year. You can guarantee it with a strong enough action-level commitment. Decide that you’ll follow through on that action commitment no matter what, and something powerful will shift.
This shift happens not just within you. Reality shifts as well. When you make a commitment that guarantees you’ll have a different kind of year, you may suspect that you’ve switched dimensions when you see how reality starts responding to you differently.
I’ve observed significant shifts as I’ve warmed up to next year’s commitment, which is to eat raw for the whole year. That’s an action-level commitment to a certain kind of spiritual year. Eating raw, which I’ve explored many years ago but never for a full year, changes my relationship with everything in life. Nothing is untouched by that change.
Spiritually I’m in the mood for a high-energy, high-connection year. I’m also craving a 2021 that’s very different from 2020. Eating raw for the whole year will absolutely guarantee that. And this decision is under my control, so I can make it a done deal.
When I reached the point of committing to this decision, knowing that I’m actually going to do it, I could feel some powerful shifts happening. First it was just a reconfiguration of my own thinking, including accepting that I was going to adhere to different eating and lifestyle habits for at least 12 months. But once the decision is truly made, there’s another layer of energy ripples that gets reflected back. It’s as if reality perceives my commitment, and now it has to adjust whatever it had planned for me for the upcoming year. Then I start seeing strong signs and early evidence that reality is acknowledging my decision.
I don’t get to see this kind of acknowledgement till I commit myself. I have to sign the guarantee of action before I’m entitled to a strong response from reality. I don’t get a real glimpse of what’s on the other side of that commitment until my signature is dry. But this can happen before I even take action on Day 1.
I can’t control what reality does. But with a firm decision, I can guarantee that I will take specific actions for an extended period of time. Even when it’s difficult to do so, I can do what it takes to change my behavior, and I can sustain that change for a year or more. That’s enough to get reality’s attention.
Reality may brush off my piddly goals and intentions, but it definitely takes notice when I made a serious action-based commitment to a different kind of year. It’s like I force it do a script rewrite. It has to respond to the shift I’m guaranteeing that I’ll create, even before I’ve done the actions.
I like to regard all-in commitment as a form of spiritual communication with reality. It’s how I let reality know what I’ll actually be doing in a way it can believe and trust. It’s how I invite reality’s cooperation. It’s how I invite alignment. It’s how I can guarantee that my external results will shift as well.