Revisiting Commitments & Giving Yourself Grace
Use honest reflection and self-awareness to guide your next actions.
It was somewhere around March 15th, 2020. I was already working from home full-time because of Covid and excited to spend more time with our dog Bella. I was so excited, as a matter of fact, that I promised her we would get 10,000 steps in every day until this little virus thing was over. She loved being outside and I now had extra time on my hands. It was a win! Little did I know just a few days later she wouldn't be with us anymore. And I could never have imagined that this “little virus thing” would still be going on! Given my commitment to her and in her honor, I worked to maintain my goal of 10,000 steps a day.
I remember the first time I didn't make that mark. It was sometime last summer and we had a day out on the boat. And, if you know anything about Bella, you know that she loved the boat. She had been known to sneak down to the lake and sit on the bow in anticipation of a day on the water. She'd watch us lug our items down to the dock and pant with crazy excitement. At the end of that first boating day without her, I cried after looking at my fitness tracker before getting into bed. It was confirmation that I had “broken my promise” to her.
Getting under 10,000 steps happened a few other times. Sometimes it was because I wasn't feeling well or I was doing a lot of driving within a day trip to see family. The guilt always crept back in, and I got back to the goal the next day.
Why am I sharing all of this background? I spent time reflecting on my "10,000 steps commitment” to her on the anniversary of her death.
I looked at my promise to her as a commitment not be broken, which meant even more now that she was gone. There was no way to know at the time that she would have died, or that Covid would still be something that we would be dealing with over a year later. Yet I continued to work toward the steps I promised to her. At times that meant pushing my body too far, even if I was tired and knew I really needed rest instead.
Within honest reflection knew I needed to give myself some grace within that commitment. Most days I still make that 10,000 step goal, and our new dog Bruce definitely helps with that! But I'm not so intent on the number anymore. I'm tuning into how my body feels, how inflammation is showing up for me (aching knee, sore back, the walk just feeling “hard”) and what I really need in the moment. And yes, sometimes that means watching pulling up Hallmark movies and being drawn into an utterly predictable story! Other times it means putting on some shoes and getting outside.
Since making this shift I can tell my body is starting to let go of some of the things I was hanging on to—my sadness, guilt, and all of the “should's” I was telling myself that I needed to do. Because the reality was, it was me telling myself that I needed to reach 10,000 steps.
I offer my story as a way for you to see how re-evaluating your own goals and action steps can help you come back into better balance. It can also help make your action steps more specific to you and your values.
Questions to help guide your goal and action steps re-evaluation could be:
How do I feel taking the actions that I committed to?
Does it feel good or energy-draining when I think about it?
How does that show up in my body (a feeling of lightness, a feeling of nausea, something else)?
Do I need to shift, re-design, or reconsider what I committed to?
Do I need to give myself some grace and what might that look like?
A good rule of thumb to follow here would be to think about the kind of advice you'd give your best friend if they were in the exact same situation. That advice is most likely what would be helpful and supportive of you!