A self contract is an agreement between your present and future self about what’s most important to you. It may be written or simply internalized. It draws together the critical aspects of yourself and applies it to what you want out of life. It requires a vision of yourself in the future and an understanding of what it will take to get there.
Modeling business contracts we enter into in our lives, there are a few components:
- Identification of involved parties
- Acceptance of who we are
- A proposal of the future or intention
- Consideration of what’s important to us now and the future
First, there is recognition of those in the contract. The two parties are our present and future selves. Our present self is who and what we are currently including our strengths and weaknesses. Our future self is the person we want to become including our character and external intent.
Second, we need to exercise our due diligence and accept who we are currently in our life. Just like a legal contract, a comprehensive appraisal of our business including assets, liabilities, resources and ability to bring about what we intend.
Third, our contract needs to state our intentions. This could be a simple statement about what we want to do or as elaborate as all the steps we need to take to achieve some objective.
Fourth, we need to consider what’s important to us now as well as what we think will be important us in the future. What are our values that we hold highest above all else. What are our priorities in life.
My first contract with myself was when I was 17 years old. I wrote it down and had many details about what I wanted out of life. It didn’t have all the elements I mentioned above and I didn’t think of it as a contract, but I did include all the major elements of a happy life as I thought of it at the time. I lost the original but having worked on it, I had committed it to memory. One of my original ten objectives is forever lost to me and caused a major shift in my life when things didn’t go right. Working through it helped me better understand who and what I am. Allowing things to unfold as they did, I discovered and accomplished much more than I set out to do. Near midlife, I’ve completed eight of the original ten objectives and count myself successful. With this in mind I wrote out a new contract a few years back better reflecting the components mentioned above.
Just like business, it’s important for us to understand who and what we are now and who and what we want to become. Knowing this, we can enter into a contract with ourselves to experience as much of this life as it has to offer.
Click here if you want to see my current contract. I have this posted on the inside of a kitchen cabinet door I access very often when I cook on a daily basis. Occasionally, I’ll take time and re-read it to remind myself of who I am and what’s important to me.