ByÂ Leo Babauta
For those who’re doing theÂ Iron Will Challenge (aka the Consistent Meditation Challenge), there are a couple of common scenarios at this point:
- You aren’t doing the challenge consistently anymore (or doing it at all); or
- You’re doing the challenge consistently but just going through the motions.
There’s a third, less common, scenario: you’re doing the challenge consistently and with complete devotion. If this is you, skip this article and be proud of yourself.
But for those who aren’t doing the challenge (consistently) or who are just going through the motions, let’s talk about what I’d like you to do right now: recommit yourself to this challenge.
We’ll get to the How in a minute â€” let’s talk first about the Why. Why recommit yourself? Because this challenge is about developing a deep commitment to something, through practice. Letting your commitment slip away (or drop completely) is not the practice you’re looking for. Walking through something but without completely devotion is also not the practice you’re shooting for.
What you want is complete devotion to the practice. This is not to beat yourself up if you aren’t doing that yet, but more to adjust your training so that you practice in a way that will help you more in the long run.
How to Recommit Yourself
Let’s talk about recommitment in both of the above scenarios …
In the first scenario, where you haven’t been doing the challenge consistently, recommitment is about:
- Reminding yourself of why you decided to do this in the first place â€” to be more committed to things and stick to them.
- Reminding yourself of the consequences of not being committed â€” not sticking to what you want to stick to, which affects all areas of your life. Remind yourself that you don’t want to keep this old pattern.
- Digging into your heart and renouncing your previous actions (without shame or beating yourself up), and feeling a deep commitment to change going forward.
- Taking the next smallest step with a sense of full devotion. That might be sitting down right now to meditate (or whatever you committed yourself to). That might be setting up multiple reminders, or setting up your meditation space for tomorrow. It might be contacting people you know to hold you accountable. But whatever step you take, try to be fully devoted to it.
To be fully devoted to something is to give it a sense of importance, a sense of sacredness or specialness, like it’s not something to be taken lightly. This is worth having in the limited, precious hours you have remaining in this life.
Let’s talk about devotion as it relates to the second scenario, where you are just going through the motions. Recommitment in this case means:
- Reminding yourself of why this commitment is important to you â€” not only to stick to things, but to be all in. To give care to whatever you commit yourself to. Why even include it in your life if you’re just going to go through the motions?
- Reminding yourself of the consequences of your old pattern of going through the motions â€” you never give things your all, you are always halfway out the door, looking for the exit, looking for the ending to whatever you’re doing. What does this do to your life, your projects, your relationships?
- Digging into your heart and renounce your old ways of being half committed (without shame or beating yourself up) and summoning a sense of deep devotion to each action in this commitment. For example, you might have a meditation cushion that you pick up and place carefully, as if the cushion were the heart of a loved one.
- Take each step in the small commitment you’ve made with the same kind of care, commitment and devotion. Treat everything as if they were your own eyes. Treat everything as if it were sacred. Treat each action as if it were you last, your gift to the world.
Imagine what would happen if you committed yourself fully like this, and undertook every action and every commitment with this kind of devotion. What would it change in your life? What would it change in you?