Commit: What does it mean?

Commit refers to doing things that provide meaning and purpose in our lives. These can range from successfully completing challenging tasks to volunteering and doing good deeds for others.

Doing something that we are proud of, even if it’s just fixing a toy or repairing a chair or baking a great cake, builds self-confidence and self-esteem. Doing something for others provides extra feelings of satisfaction.

The more we commit to a cause, interest or a group, the greater our sense of self and satisfaction with life. Getting involved by volunteering contributes to personal and community mental health.

Helping other people who are disadvantaged in some way has special returns. We not only feel good about helping other people but we learn to put our own problems into perspective and be thankful for what we have.

Aunt Sally also knew a thing or two about health...

“Tis better to give than receive” she used to say.

To us kids, receiving was much better than giving! But now I know what she meant. I’m a volunteer for a local group that takes disadvantaged kids on outings.The kids have a great time, and although its pretty demanding, so do we. In fact I think we get more out of these outings than the kids do. All volunteers will tell you the same thing. Giving your time and energy for a good cause makes you feel really good about yourself.

Health experts say that doing good deeds adds meaning to our lives and helps our self-esteem – all of which are good for our mental health and feeling content with who we are.

I think Aunt Sally already knew that. No wonder she encouraged us all to take up a cause and get involved in local community issues.

What's your Commit score?

Answer the following questions to find out how much you 'commit'.

Personal challenges and goals

Q1a: Are you doing something challenging at the moment?

(For example, home or garden renovations, enrolled in a course, training for a ‘fun run’ or competitive sport, learning a new skill, like woodwork, the guitar, painting or welding?).

Challenges at work

Q2: If you are employed, is your work challenging and involve learning new things, or is it fairly easy?

Positions held in groups

Q3a: Do you belong to any formal or informal groups, clubs or organisations?

Activism

Q4a: Are you actively involved with a cause-related group seeking additional resources, legislative or policy change?

(For example, for disadvantaged groups, environmental preservation, etc.?)

Volunteer work

Q5a: Are you a volunteer for any charitable organisations, community groups, health or social welfare organisations, or other non-government organisations?

(Coaching a sporting team, mentoring a colleague, volunteering for Red Cross, meals on wheels, etc.?)

General helping out

Q6: Apart from any formal volunteering work, how often do you do something to help someone?

(e.g. help a neighbour, cook a meal or clean for a sick friend, help students with projects?)

Your Commit Results

Commit Score

Retake questionaire

When you have finished the Guide and started on some of your plans, answer the questions again after a month or so and calculate your score. Then do it again 3 months later and 6 months later

Taking on more personal challenges and goals

Is there a new skill you would like to learn?

Have you ever wanted to play a musical instrument, cook food from other cultures, grow a vegetable patch, learn carpentry or how to speak another language?

If you already engage in a lot of activities, perhaps you could set some goals to make these more challenging.

As you think about how to Commit more, keep in mind how these activities help you to Act and Belong. For example, if you already Belong to a group could you make this a Commit activity by taking on a committee position, such as treasurer or secretary?

Some ideas for taking on new challenges

  • If you play an instrument, try practicing a new piece or set yourself a goal to perform this piece at an ‘open mic’ night, as a busker at a community event, or perform a free concert at an aged care home.
  • Think of a project you would like to do – like a home or garden improvement project, or restoring some old furniture or an old car.
  • Do you want to learn to paint or make a sculpture? Ask a friend to teach you or enrol in a course and set yourself a project to complete with this new skill.
  • Try to make what you already do more challenging by setting yourself some goals, entering competitions, or trying something new.
  • Raise money for a charity whilst doing something challenging and fun.
  • Learn a language, a musical instrument, or to sing.
  • Learn how to better use the computer.
  • Take up painting, sculpting, sewing, needlework, or knitting.
  • Learn welding or woodwork
  • Enter a sporting event that involves training such as a trek, marathon or fun run, swimming or cycling event, or a tennis match.
  • Take up bike riding, dancing

Get involved

Make a list below of the new things you would like to learn or list some activities you already do and set yourself a challenge or a goal. Then set a start date.

Tips for setting challenging goals

Undertaking challenging activities can be quite demanding. However, perseverance and mastery provide a real sense of achievement and boost your self-esteem. So when learning something new it’s important to stick at it. Setting goals gives you something to aim for and helps you keep going when things are a bit tough.

  1. Take your time to think of a challenge that excites you and write it down as a goal. Make sure to include what you want to do, when and where you will do it, how long it will take, and what you need to achieve it.
  2. If you feel your goal is too big, break it down into smaller daily, weekly, or monthly goals.
  3. Put your goals on the fridge or the mirror and tell a friend. This will increase the likelihood of you achieving your goals.
  4. Keep at it! Challenges aren’t meant to be easy, and they will take time. Keep a diary or log book to keep track of your progress.
  5. Reread your goal from time to time and adjust your goal if you’re finding it too easy or too hard.
  6. Celebrate! Once you have achieved your goal, it’s important to celebrate and reflect on the feelings you experienced while you worked towards the goal and how you feel now that the goal has been achieved.

Committing more to groups

Are you are already a member of a group? Do you have the time to get more involved with this group? If so, here are some ideas on how to commit more to your existing groups:

  • Attend more regularly.
  • Become a committee member, president or vice president.
  • Take minutes at the next meeting.
  • Organise and lead a group session.
  • Manage the budget.
  • Do the catering at the next function.
  • Build the membership.
  • Help out with the admin.

Get involved

Think about the areas where you would like to help out or skills you have that could be an asset to the group.

Write them down and select one or more to try.

Committing more by volunteering or taking up a cause

Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community. Volunteering for a cause or to help other people provides meaning and purpose in life and a stronger connection to the world, to humanity, and even to our spiritual side.

When committing to volunteering there are a number of points to consider. What would you enjoy doing? How much time are you able and happy to give over a week, month, or a weekend? What skills can you offer? What skills would you like to learn? (Many organisations offer their volunteers training).

When you commit to volunteering, other people will rely on you so it’s important to realistically consider how much time you are able to give.

Where to start

  • Start local. For example, could you volunteer at your child’s school canteen? Try approaching local community groups or organisations, your local library, hospital, or church.
  • If you’re passionate about a particular cause, join an advocacy group or action-group with similar values to your own.
  • If you have come from overseas, perhaps you could draw on your experiences to help more recent arrivals settle in.

Organisations, charities, and groups need people to help out in a number of different roles, including administration, general maintenance, or even cleaning or baking. Think about your own skills and things you already do at home, at work, for your family or children, or for fun and how you might be able to do these things for the benefit of others.

TIP: Do not overload yourself. If you find that even after giving something a good go you are not enjoying that activity or can’t keep up with other commitments, let it go and try something less demanding or more to your liking.

Get involved

Think of some ways you could volunteer your time and write them down below.

Helping people out and 'acts of kindness'

Think about your friends and people in your street or apartment block. Could you offer to help in any of the following ways?

  • Offer to help with someone’s shopping.
  • Visit a sick friend, relative or neighbour.
  • Cook something for a neighbour.
  • Offer to look after a friend’s children.
  • Offer to mow your neighbour’s lawn.
  • Visit someone who may be lonely.

A simple and easy way to feel good about helping others is to start with acts of kindness. An act of kindness could be towards a stranger, a neighbour, or a friend and could be as simple as letting someone into a line of traffic, giving up your seat on the bus or train for someone else, or holding the door open for someone.

Here are some ideas for 'acts of kindness'

  • Let someone in front of you in a queue.
  • Let one car in on every journey.
  • Pick up litter as you walk.
  • Treat a loved one to breakfast in bed.
  • Buy fruit for your colleagues.
  • Send someone a ‘thank you’ when they least expect it.
  • If there’s time left on your parking ticket, give it to someone else.

Get involved

Try doing a small act of kindness this week. Write down what it was that you did and how it made you feel.

Not all your acts of kindness will be acknowledged with a thank you, but don’t let that stop you!

Additional Commit information

Volunteer Australia

Provides information and links on how to volunteer and the skills and training needed and offered for volunteers. volunteeringaustralia.org

Volunteer Alliance

Connects community based organisations in developing countries with international volunteers. volunteeralliance.org

Volunteer WA (WA only)

Connects people looking to volunteer with organisations searching for volunteers volunteeringwa.org.au

Wirrpanda Foundation

Promoting strong role models and healthy life choices for Aboriginal Australians. www.wf.org.au

Meals on Wheels

Volunteers can assist in a number or ways. To find a branch near you visit the website. mealsonwheels.org.au

Training WA

If you are looking to increase your skills in some area, visit this website for TAFE and other courses available in WA. trainingwa.wa.gov.au