Have you ever had the experience of making promises to yourself that you just didn’t keep? Most folks have, and most of us recognize the heaviness, the leaden quality, of the things we say we will do but don’t.

Some commitments feel like lead. Something in us simply doesn’t believe we can (or want to) follow through. Other commitments are solid gold. They may be difficult and even scary, yet we rise to the occasion with gusto. Finally, there are commitments that fall somewhere in between. These are candidates for a process I call the alchemy of commitment, the process of turning lead into gold.

Separate the Lead from the Gold

1.Write down 10 commitments you want to fulfill in the next six months. Include things you keep saying you want to do but haven’t done.

2.Place an “X” next to any item that lacks a specific time of completion.

3.Place an “X” next to anything that depends on someone else’s action. (Some items may have more than one “X.”)

4.Place an “X” next to any item that you have been meaning to do for more than six months.

5.Review your list. As you read each item, notice what happens in your body. Observe any changes in sensation, such as contractions, shifts in breathing, changes in posture, or surges or drops in energy. If, on the whole, what you notice feels positive and hopeful, highlight the item. If what you notice feels negative and resistant or frustrated, place an “X” next to the item.

6.Transfer the highlighted items to your Solid Gold Commitments list.

Turning Lead into Gold

Of the items that have an “X” next to them, which ones are necessary to your well-being or that of your family? Highlight these with a different color. These items don’t yet quality for your Solid Gold Commitments list because the “X” indicates that there’s something missing that will keep you from following through. To close that gap, take the following steps.

1.If you have been putting something off for more than six months, ask yourself if it is absolutely necessary. Odds are that you think you should do it but actually have no intention of following through if you can possibly help it. If you decide it is necessary, write down exactly why it is essential for you to carry out this commitment.

2.Chunk down your commitment. Break it into two or three steps (more if necessary) so that each step is manageable. What’s manageable? Whatever you can actually see yourself accomplishing in a specific time frame.

3.Get help. Think of two or three people who could help and write down their names along with the contributions you will ask them to make. (Make specific, time-bounded requests, and be equally gracious whether you get a yes or a no. This makes it easy to ask another time.)

4.If your commitment depends on someone else, write down the steps you will take to coordinate with them. (This includes the people you identified in step 4.)

5.Choose a commitment and close your eyes. Breathing easily and fully, imagine that you have met this commitment and are enjoying the results. How do you feel? How has this affected your relationships? Your health? Soak up the sensations of success. Only when you have fully imagined the pleasure of fulfilling the commitment should you transfer it to your Solid Gold Commitments list. Repeat with each commitment.

Sometimes, Lead Is Just Lead

Don’t get sidetracked trying to turn all your leaden commitments into gold. Some commitments don’t get met because, at the end of the day, they’re just not that important. If you have been promising yourself to lose 10 pounds for five years, maybe the truth is that your weight is in line with your real priorities. Let go of half-hearted commitments, and you’ll have all the more energy for transmuting lead into gold!

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit http://www.selfgrowth.com/greatways.html

Author's Bio: 

Molly Gordon is an internationally recognized Master Certified Coach, writer, and facilitator. She is the author of Authentic Promotion, a 12-week audio program and workbook in transformational marketing. Thousands of professionals and organizations from NASA to Lamaze International have used Molly’s mind-body-spirit approach to embody a prosperity based on service, purpose, and lifelong learning. A pioneer in establishing a service business online, Molly’s e-zine, “Authentic Promotion,” is now in its eighth year of publication. Visit Molly’s Web sites and blog at http://www.mollygordon.com, http://www.authenticpromotion.com, and http://www.shaboominc.com.