The fear of commitment is often thought of as something pertaining solely to romantic relationships. In fact, fear of commitment is much bigger than that.
People who resist or are actively afraid of commitment usually express fear of making poor decisions or losing out on options. Commitment can feel like a trap or a cage. . .But fear of commitment does not come from taking commitment too lightly — as people often assume. Rather it comes from taking commitment very seriously. Which is precisely why it feels so challenging – leading to mental distress, emotional difficulty, procrastination and avoidance when faced with situations requiring dedication to a long-term goal.
So what is commitment? It is making a dedication, promise or obligation binding an individual to a particular person, cause, or course of action.
While there are many areas — work, relationships, longterm goals — which can cause a fear of commitment to arise, this blog addresses our fear of commitment to creating healthier life practices and habits. And because we are a walking group, it specifically addresses fear of committing to a regular daily habit of walking!
May is the National Month of Recommitment. As EverWalk co-founder Diana Nyad writes:
In our EverWalk World, the soul of our commitment is to walk a mile a day. And, to be clear, this is a different commitment than walking once or twice a week longer distances.
The EverWalk Mile is a life spirit commitment. It’s the concept of folding in that mile, come hook or come crook, into your lifestyle. By all means, embrace your adventures of five, eight, ten miles. But we are pushing you to also make ONE MILE your everyday commitment.
So why not make May 2021 your time to groove that mile into the happy habits of your days? Look at it this way: You say to yourself at age 90: Imagine that: I’ve been walking a mile every day for the past 37 years! Imagine what that commitment will mean to the whole of your life.
Now the fact of the matter is that the majority of us do walk, in some small or large measure, every single day. So why, then, can it sometimes feel challenging to commit to walking even a mile a day?
There are many possible reasons: Disability or injury, time constraints, safety, family and work commitments, weather. But the fact of the matter is that one mile takes most people between fifteen to forty minutes, depending on their fitness level — and for most of us, at least time-wise, this is doable. It’s particularly doable if you get that mile in doing errands, taking your dog out to do their business, or just making the commitment to get up in the morning and get out for a mile.
So why don’t we do it?
For folks who have had injuries or other physical disabilities, both head and body seem to argue the impossibility of that kind of commitment. And certainly, we advocate not pushing yourself to do something you are physically unable to do.
But if the issue is not strictly physical, then what is it?
Is it the fear of setting a goal and then not achieving it? Are we afraid of failing or hurting ourselves or even (memories from gym class) getting laughed at?
Is it the belief that you might let yourself down a day or week or month or two? Well, of course, there are going to be days you don’t walk. A goal is a goal, not a ball and chain. But if you didn’t do things for fear of letting yourself down, well, you’d never do anything!
Is it resistance to something new? Or perhaps an old habit that holds sway? We all get in a groove in our thoughts — and that doesn’t always serve us well, Even those us who walk daily need to change things up. The only way to get comfortable trying new things is to. . .try new things!
In short, we are afraid — and that fear translates into making excuses, lacking motivation, finding a way out. But an excuse is an excuse. Which means a mask for the real issue. FEAR.
But fear of what at the bottom line?
Well, psychologists say that there is One Fear to Rule Them All: The Fear of the Unknown.
Now, all fears have an element of the unknown in them. . .and in the fears that usually succeed in stopping us from doing or trying something — the unknown is something that we believe will harm us — mentally, physically, psychically, or spiritually.
So how do we deal with our fears? We face them. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do. one thing every day that scares you.” Now she didn’t mean swim from Cuba to Key West with no preparation or walk a tightrope between two skyscrapers. She meant face down the daily little fears that get us all tied up in knots.
And that’s why walking The EverWalk Mile is such a game changer.
There is no committee or Big Brother watching you. Your EverWalk Mile is your EverWalk Mile. You can do it at home — though getting outside can be a wonderful way to shift out of negative stuck thinking. You can do it in parts and work your way up to a full consecutive mile. You can do it as part of a longer walk. The point is — DO IT!
Commit to walking The EverWalk Mile each day in whatever way you can. And then witness what happens.
First of all, just walking a mile can improve your mental, physical, and spiritual health. It can also help you get out of your own head, or discover a new place, or get to know your neighbors or neighborhood. Doing something, instead of talking about doing something, will make you feel so proud of yourself. And that is actually more habit-forming than fear. Do it once, then twice, then three times — and you’ll find you want to keep doing it.
And then. . .having faced down that fear of commitment in one part of your life, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to commit to goals in other areas of your life.
May is the National Month of Recommitment. So why not recommit to committing to do something good for yourself? Commit to walking The EverWalk Mile each day.