Before humans commit to some grand scheme, often there is some sort of promise involved. You know, like vows exchanged at a wedding. The real big life moments require us to step out of our normal routine and truly signify the moments importance. To say to ourselves out loud and to the universe, that we are seriously doing this. When it comes to you and your art, there is no difference. If the work is important, then a official dedication is in order.

How you choose to dedicate yourself to your craft depends on you and what you will take seriously. Maybe you decide to craft a legitimate dedication ceremony, where you read vows outloud. Maybe you choose to devote yourself in the form of a party with your closest friends. Maybe you decide to commemorate your choice in the form of a poem, a painting or a mindful walk in nature where you communicate out loud to the grass and the trees. How you choose to dedicate yourself actually doesn’t matter. What matters is how you connect to it and how much truth you put into it.

Truth. That is the helpful word here. In order for your commitment to help you, you need to dig in deep and find the truth. What is it exactly that you need to commit to? What are your challenges? What causes you to retreat into your comfort zone?

In organizing and reflecting upon all my truths, a few universal bad boys showed strong among the rest. So, I collected and sorted these babies into a literal Commitment Contract. Mind you, these are just suggestions. As you read through the ideas listed below, start thinking about what else you might need to commit to. If the purpose of this project is to hold us accountable, then customize yours so it reflects whatever it is you need to hear most.

Commitment Contract Suggestions:

___ Commit to picking yourself: It’s a wonderful feeling when someone else recognizes your inner talents, compliments and encourages you to keep pressing forward, but it does not happen for everyone. And that’s ok. You actually become stronger for having to pick yourself. You are forced to come to the realization that you can do this. So, you just do.

___ Commit to working past the guilt: There is barely any time to do all the normal things we need doing, so it is completely normal to feel guilty for stealing precious time away for seemingly frivolous desires like creating weird art, but in order to succeed you need to commit to working past the guilt anyways.

___ Commit to doing it, even when it sucks: There is a reason why not many people attempt to do what is in their heart, it’s hard and just plain sucks sometimes. Do better than the masses and commit to pursuing your passion even on the sucky days.

___ Commit to complaining… the right way: Complaining is boring to talk about and even worse to listen to.  Give your friends and family a break by limiting your complaints. If you need to complain, find a bitch buddy. You complain, let them complain, then be done with it. If it is a big challenge, create some art about your sorrows.

___ Commit to understanding and managing your Fear Weasel: Fear likes to present himself as a dragon. A large, impenetrable force that radiates terror and anxiety. In this form, you allow your Fear Dragon to be the decision maker, but the thing is, fear is a con artist. Fear is far from a dragon at all, he is actually a weasel. The goal is not to defeat and conquer your fear weasel, it’s figuring how to get to work with him present. Fear Weasel has his role to play on your journey of becoming an artist and isn’t going anywhere. ­

___ Commit to dealing with your IC: Your inner critic (IC) is belittling and rude. He has no filter and doesn’t care if you want to hear his opinion or not but like Fear Weasel, IC is coming along for the ride. So, it is best to acknowledge his presence but learn to not to take his words as truth.

___ Commit to your Faith Fox: There will be lots of trust falls happening and Faith Fox is here to catch you and provide reassurance that things will indeed work out just as they should. Trusting your Faith Fox allows your worrisome mind to relax and have confidence that you are doing whatever it is you are supposed to be doing.

___ Commit to trusting your gut: You know those times when you are faced with a difficult decision then out of nowhere a feeling starts to build from deep within your bowels that gives you answers? You can’t explain why, but you know without doubt that this is the right solution. When you find yourself decision making, and this rumbling occurs, trust it.

___ Commit to the long game: Decide as early as possible that you are in it to win it – no matter how long it will take. Do this for the love of doing this. For what you can not only create today, but what you can create today to assist in creating tomorrow.

___ Commit to enjoy your damn self : Having fun feels like a luxury, a sensation to look forward to after you have achieved your goals. But this way of thinking simply won’t work for us. At the risk of sounding too much like an 80’s pop song, all we have is right now, this very moment. Which means, we need to dare ourselves to have a little fun along the way.

___ Commit to the commitment: At the end of the day, you are the only human that is capable of making this whole artist thing happen. So, if you are serious, like really serious, commit to this commitment. Do it because you need to. We’re all going to die one day so you might as well create some stuff before you go, my wayward friend.

When building your own Commitment Contract or whatever it may be, create something tangible. A relic of sorts. A piece that you can display in order to remind you of your oaths. Maybe a picture from your ceremony, the printed poem or a rock from your walk. Something, anything to bring you back to the day you were full of resolve and dedicated yourself to the truth. Because this whole artist thing is hard and it will be a good idea to have a little accountability buddy visible to remind you of your best, dedicated self.

Below is a PDF of my Commitment Contract. Print it. Use it. Change it. Do what needs to be done to it to turn it into your own. If you feel so inclined, share it with me. I would love to hear all about your own commitments to this creative life. Then go make stuff and when you get stuck and life gets hard, pull out your commitments. Re-dedicate yourself to them as often as you need to. We got this.