Let’s Agree To Agree
I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. More often than not, I break them and they are often more aspirational than even an overachiever like myself can attain. My New Year’s Resolutions were always quite superficial. How many times can one woman pledge to go to the gym four days a week? That pesky 15lbs. is really not going anywhere anytime soon and certainly not as long as I’m surrounded by delicious southern cooking.
Instead of making a promise to myself that I’m bound to not keep. I decided to focus my efforts on The Four Agreements. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom was written by Don Miguel Ruiz and debuted in 1997. Whenever I’m in a rut and not feeling like life is on track, I tend to pull this selection off of my shelf and remind myself of the agreements. This year, I want to turn my focus to internal personal development that will have an even greater payoff than being able to fit into that one dress in my closet from graduate school.
Here’s a brief summary of The Four Agreements:
1. Be impeccable with your word.
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always do your best.
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
Now, none of these are easy. In fact, they are brutally hard to accomplish. For me, I have to remind myself of the Agreements on a daily and sometimes minute by minute basis. However, when I hold true to them, I feel the stress leaving any situation in which I might find myself.
I believe the agreements are directly connected to leadership of self and others. Imagine what your student organization would look like if everyone worked hard to adhere to the agreements. Perhaps there wouldn’t be any inner group gossip, members wouldn’t take personal offense if another person didn’t like their idea, there would be clear communication and tasks might be done correctly the first time around, and everyone would do their best at all times to accomplish the mission of the group.
Doesn’t that sound wonderful?!
The book is only 129 pages long and even though I know y’all have a ton of reading to get done, I’m guessing many of you could wrap this one up in one sitting on a rainy Monday. Try to incorporate all four agreements or focus on one at a time. According to the author, The First Agreement of “Be impeccable with your word” is the hardest to achieve. I tend to agree.
Let’s reframe New Year’s Resolutions and choose a new way to engage in personal development. This is all about progress and I promise that you are going to fall off the bandwagon. That’s okay! Remember, “Always Do Your Best”. That’s all anyone, including yourself, can ask of you.
Happy New Year!
Ruiz, Don Miguel (1997). The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Tolted Wisdom Book). Amber-Allen Publishing: San Rafael, CA.