A contract is usually an agreement between two or more people but you can also use contracts to make agreements with yourself. It is a structure that can be invaluable when you are serious about making changes in your life.
Here are some examples of this type of contract:
Problem: I work 65 hours a week
Contract: I will work no more than 50 hours a week for the next month and will reduce my work time to 45 hours a week after that.
Problem: I constantly criticize myself.
Contract: Every time I am self-critical, I will internally say the affirmation “I am worthy of respect. I will not harm myself by thought, word or deed.”
Problem: I eat when I am not hungry.
Contract: For the next week, I will record every time I am tempted to eat when I’m not hungry. Next to the date and time, I will write what incident or thought triggered my desire to eat, as well as the emotion that followed the trigger.
Problem: When someone asks me to do something, I automatically say yes, even when it is something I don’t want to do.
Contract: I will not say yes to requests without taking time to think about the request first.
In the next section, you will make a list of your self-sabotaging behaviors, such as those in the examples above. After you make your list, you will formulate a contract for each one. Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to commit to keeping a lot of contracts. The purpose of the first exercise is to help you learn how to write simple, clear contracts.
It is important that you word your contracts in a way that promotes you in being successful. For example, if you would like to exercise 5 days a week for 30 minutes, it would be best to start with a contract that says “I will exercise a minimum of 3 days a week for 20 minutes.” That way you won’t break the contract if you only do 3 or 4 sessions on a busy week. You can always do more than your contract requires.
In the box below, list 4-8 behaviors you desire to change and write a contract for each one. If you have trouble identifying the changes you want to make, you might find it helpful to look through the Week 1 and Week 2 lessons of this course. If possible, complete Exercise #1 on the first day of this week so that you have the rest of the week to work on Exercise #2.
Pick two of the contracts from the list above, and commit to keeping them for the rest of the week. At the end of each day, jot down some notes about your experience.
At the end of the week, answer the questions below:
Was it easy for you to keep the two contracts?
If it wasn’t easy, then commit to continue keeping them. It takes time to change behavior patterns.
When you are ready to add one or two new contracts to the original two, write them in the box below.
If you would like feedback about the contracts you write, feel free to put them in the comment section. I would be happy to answer questions or make suggestions.
Pen Photo Credit: Pixabay
See you next Monday for the thirteenth lesson.
To find the lessons in this series that have already been published click here.