Honoring Our Commitments to Ourselves

Last month, two close friends said they’d be singing in a choir event in a few days. Could I go? No, I could not. It was a difficult decision because the only event on my calendar that afternoon was, “Go to writing meetup and write 2,000 words.” There was no registration for the meetup, so I could have skipped it.

But my decision meant I would be keeping a commitment to myself. November was National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). To succeed, you need to write 50,000 words in one month—in my case, working on a mystery novel. In past years, I’ve tried to do NaNo four times without success. I’d get a certain number of words, and life would get busy. I’d realize I was too far behind and I’d quit.

This year was different. In October, I cleared my calendar and added writing meetups in November. A local writer’s group sponsors these write-ins, which are fun and inspiring. An example is that they have “Huzzah balls,” which consist of newspaper wadded up with ribbons attached. If you achieve a personal goal, like writing a certain number of words, you throw the ball into the middle of the room and shout, “Huzzah!” Everyone must stop writing for a moment and clap.

People with laptops - photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Honoring Our Commitments to Ourselves – Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

So instead of going to the choir event, I attended the write-in. The camaraderie and lighthearted atmosphere supported me so I could relax and write. This is different from the way I usually approached NaNoWriMo: “I have to get a certain number of words every day this month or I’ve failed.”

To write 50,000 words in a month, you must write an average of 1,667 words a day. My goal was 2,000 words a day, so that Thanksgiving and busy days wouldn’t be an excuse to miss my goal. Keeping this commitment was difficult, but it was a matter of prioritizing my goals. For some of you, this might not be difficult. But I find it easier to honor my commitments to others than to honor my commitments to myself.

Another friend invited me to a fundraiser-luncheon in November that I’ve gone to in the past and much enjoyed. But it would be a four-hour event, plus driving. I decided to instead take part of that time to work on my novel. First I treated myself to a tasty lunch, so I wouldn’t feel I had deprived myself too much. My lunch took little more than an hour, and I had plenty of time to go to the library and write.

I was sorry to miss some enjoyable events last month, but I sure felt good when I reached 50,000 words on November 25. Putting my needs first empowered me to succeed. I felt proud of myself for getting the 50,000 words done. For probably a decade, I’ve said, “I want to write a mystery novel.” Now I can say, “I’m writing a mystery novel.” There is a big difference between those two statements.


As always, I have room for improvement. I let go of some healthy habits in November and haven’t gotten back on track yet in December. I need to get back to running, watching my weight, and drinking enough water. These commitments to myself need to be above my holiday commitments to others. It will not do anyone any good if I am stressed out when attending and hosting holiday events this year.

What commitments do you need to keep to yourself? When do you find it difficult to keep your commitments to yourself?

About Susan Ekins

Freelance writer and blogger at Women Making Strides. Interested in personal leadership and empowerment. Wanting inspiration and to inspire. Leader in church ministries. Blog: http://www.WomenMakingStrides.com/ Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/WomenMakingStrides1
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Lifestyle, personal leadership and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Honoring Our Commitments to Ourselves

  1. Huzzah for you!!! Good job. Love to hear these success stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. nanciec13 says:

    congrats Susan!! that is a fabulous accomplishment! I am working on healthy eating and movement so I understand the discipline involved in a life commitment as well. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sarah says:

    Congratulations, Sue! You achieved a lofty writing goal AND shortly thereafter published a blog post! One of my favorite sayings is (something like) “When you say no to one thing you are saying yes to something else.” In this case, “No” to other people means “YES!” to yourself! “No” to a choir event means “YES” to achieving a decade long goal! That’s huge! Good luck getting back into the healthier habits you prefer. We all fall off now and then but the good thing about you is that YOU know how to get back on track. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shirley Jones says:

    Sue…reading this article was so inspiring for me. Glad you accomplished that and continue writing your novel. I have a bucket list that I need to work on and block that out time on my calendar. Thanks for sharing this uplifting message…that we need to come first in our lives. Have a Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. EstelaHa says:

    Congratulations on writing your novel goal. I know it means a lot to advance your writing in this mystery novel. I know when I had periods of being focused on getting a degree, which was a lot of writing too, I had to give up other events or say no. It is all worth it when you reach your goals because another day you can go to luncheons with a novel already written. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I also find honouring my commitments to myself (and being as kind to myself as I am to others) difficult.
    Both ‘feel’ selfish. Logically I know that is a nonsense, but logic and emotions are rarely on the same page.
    Huge congratulations on your achievement.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan Ekins says:

      I suspect you and I are both Obligers as defined by Gretchen Rubin in her book “The Four Tendencies.” Yes, it feels selfish to put my own desires first, although I’ve finally realized I’ve only got one shot at life and should live it my way. Thank you for your comment and for the congratulations.


  7. alhenry says:

    Good for you, Susan, for sticking to your own goals. I think women are prone to trying to “fit in” everyone else’s requests, needs, etc. and leaving their own goals to happenstance, if there’s time left (which there almost never is). Congrats on finishing what you started. It’s a good feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You are an inspiration to me, Sue, and show examples of tending to one’s own goals that I hope to follow. Thank you – and huzzah!

    Liked by 1 person

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