Self-Engagement: The Mighty Burp Ritual

David - About Lifestyle - July 10, 2020

It is crazy how little things keep living inside you for so long. You set rules for yourself, and they stay with you for the rest of your life. Take me for instance, I promised myself I'd follow a strict ritual when burping. Be it in public or solo, I've spent twenty years doing the exact same thing right after burping just because I swore it to myself.

Self-engagement is powerful. Let's learn how to use it to our advantage.

In this article, I'll tell you a short story about self-engagement, and show you how to make an engagement with yourself. I'll define self-engagement and give you a step-by-step technique to make one you'll keep for a long time.

Self-Engagement: The Mighty Burp Ritual - Illustration - Picture

Classy Self-Engagement: A Short Story of Mine

I remember it like it was yesterday. Me, being 8 years old, standing up in front of my TV. For the very first time, I burped and thought about it for a second. I wondered: What if somebody heard it? Or even smelled it? Or just saw me do something inappropriate with my throat?

And just like that, I started to set rules for myself. My ultimate goal was to end up behaving in such a way that I would never disturb the people around me.

I thought: People might hear or smell it. Let's just say sorry. But then I thought: If they had neither heard nor smelled it, people would be confused, why would I say sorry? Let's just say I burped, to be honest.

And this is how I spent twenty years of my life saying "Sorry for burping" out loud. Back when I was 8 years old, I made a self-engagement. I swore to myself that I would always say sorry right after burping. And I did.

It is powerful to have an engagement with yourself. Let's see how to make one you'll keep for a (very) long time.

Self-Engagement: The Mighty Burp Ritual - Illustration - Picture

How to Make a Self-Engagement

A self-engagement is a promise you make with yourself. Somehow, you swear to yourself that, upon certain circumstances, you will always do the exact same thing. Be it for politeness, ambition, respect, or anything else.

In my case, for instance, politeness was the motive behind my self-engagement.

To make a self-engagement that works, follow these steps:

  1. Figure out what you want to improve: Do you want to be more polite? More respectful? More loving? More hard-working? Determine which area you'd like to work on daily, so that you improve yourself through repeated efforts.

  2. Set your goals and expectations: How can you tell your self-engagement had an impact? What's the metric you'll use to assess your efficiency? What are you trying to achieve? Goals and expectations will keep you motivated and enable you to find your inner drive.

  3. Most importantly, define a recipe: What, exactly, will you be doing? You must turn your self-engagement into a list of small steps you have to accomplish under strict rules. You have to repeat the same tasks over and over again so you stay true to yourself and keep your promise.

  4. Find a stimulus: Using classical conditioning, you'll progressively turn your recipe into a reflex, an automatic behavior. To do so, you must find circumstances under which you'll always repeat the tasks you've defined earlier.

An example is worth a thousand words. Let's say I want to be a better cook. I could make a self-engagement that involves chopping onions every Friday night. And my stimulus could be a phone reminder, set at 8pm on Friday. This would help me improve my slicing, dicing, chopping, and cutting techniques. I could even get creative and try to cut something else!

Self-Engagement: The Mighty Burp Ritual - Illustration - Picture

Self-Engagement Best Practices

Making a self-engagement is like creating a habit after you've made a promise to yourself. And to create a habit and stick to it, you've got to know some tips and tricks.

  1. Hold yourself accountable: Tell all your friends and relatives you'll succeed. The fear of failure, associated with shame, will push you to do the best you can.

  2. Write down your self-engagement: Put pen to paper and write. What is it? What's the motive behind it? What are the rules? Be formal, answer each question, and sign. Written engagements are usually stronger than abstract ones.

  3. Make the rules clear: If your self-engagement has to be done very often, you must make the rules rigid. This will help you behave like a robot so you never miss your target.

  4. Break down your self-engagement: You must have an accurate step-by-step process. It's easier to remember and act upon.

All these tips should help you create a powerful self-engagement you'll keep for a long time.

Self-Engagement: The Mighty Burp Ritual - Illustration - Picture

What's Yours?

It was all fun and informative, but what about you? When was the last time you made a self-engagement? As a kid, have you ever made a self-engagement you kept until now?

Share your story in the comments!

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