For many people, the difference between our verbal or intellectual commitments and our actions can be vast. We may say we are committed to losing weight but the food we choose says otherwise. We might commit to reading more but spend most of our free time in front of the television or on the internet. Our commitment to exercise is belied by the new sneakers we bought, which have never left their box.

If you want to understand your commitments, examine your results. If your outcomes are dramatically different from your goals – not just a little, but so different an outsider wouldn’t guess the original goal – your true intentions may be hidden beneath what you wish was happening in your life.

What does this have to do with writing?

Do you have any trouble spots with your creative practice? Are there aspects of your writing practice where your results are far from meeting your intentions?

Take a moment to consider whether you actually desire the result you achieve. Rephrase your intention as though it were your actual desire. “I achieve this poor result, because I am committed to achieving this poor result.”

This one might hit a bit close to home, so I’ll go first.

I don’t finish big projects because I’m committed to not finishing big projects.

If your brain is like mine, you’re going to fight against this admission. Certainly this isn’t true. I want to finish my big projects. I work on them regularly. What kind of person wants to not complete a project? That’s crazy.

Repeat your phrase a few times until it feels natural. Consider the reality of your outcomes and how they differ from your stated commitment. Accept the truth of your results. For a moment, pretend that this is what you actually want.

Did you feel a change? You might feel a sense of control over your commitment and your process. You can – and do – achieve what you set out to achieve. That’s a powerful thought.

Now what?

Now that you’ve taken ownership of your commitment, you can change it. Sit with your negative statement for a bit. Consider how it might be true and why. Is there a reason you’re committed to achieving this undesirable result?

I’ll do mine:

Being committed to not finishing big projects isn’t a nice thought. But the reality is…they are not finished. I own it.

I might unknowingly be committed to not finishing big projects because I don’t want to put them out into the world where they’ll be judged. Perhaps I’m afraid I might not have the skill to write the book that’s in my head. I might not be as good as writer as I believe.

That’s enough for this time. If you’re not achieving the results that should derive from your commitments, consider what secret intentions might be holding you back and look for the underlying truths powering those intentions. Practice honesty with yourself and we’ll talk about change later.