Can you believe we’re already half-way through the year? Are you enjoying quality time with family and friends in the good weather?

Be honest about quality time. I don’t mean a quick lunch in between mowing the lawn, housework, grocery shopping, sports practice and a hundred and one chores in your harried life.

Have you stopped and really focused on your loved ones, and committed to having a connection with them every day?

Of course, you say. I talk to them every day.

I don’t mean talking to get through your day-to-day life. I mean a conscious effort to connect and communicate. That takes commitment and commitment is hard work.

We’re addicted to food that’s bad for us. When we train ourselves to get into better habits, we sweat, cry and bang our feet like children. We don’t want to do the work, but the results are worth it. That’s what I mean when I say it takes work to commit to our loved ones.

I love to hear my children laugh over their play. But, when they’re mean-spirited, as only siblings can be, it takes hard work not to give in to my impatience. It takes work to stop and explain why pinching each other is not the solution, instead of just sending them to their rooms to cool off and hope they learn their lesson.

It’s easier to give in to my children’s demands (Oh, please, that candy) than assume the role of strict enforcer. Who doesn’t want to be the cool friend rather than the nag and hope they get the lesson about healthy eating, or whatever, at school, scouts or summer camp?

Are you coming to an important milestone in your relationship? I am; 15 years of marriage and the hard lesson for me is commitment isn’t the big gesture, the anniversary trip, but working through the small stuff that are the building blocks of a relationship. You know his habit of leaving things over the house? You fume silently, instead of working hard to reconnect your love every day and communicate your needs.

Commitment to spending time as a family, a couple, or with friends isn’t sitting in front of the TV, or even in the movie theatre, it’s walking, cooking, talking and laughing together.

We have a family motto. We worked it out together and recommit to it under all new situations. Our motto is: “We’re the Cheungs and we never give up. We do our best and have fun.” Saying it aloud is our way to reassure and connect as a family.

I consider one of my most important duties is to teach my kids to see things through. I’m not being the so-called “Asian Tiger Mother” forcing her kids to be all things excellent, but, whenever the kids start a new activity, they must see it through to the end of the year or season. After that they can choose not to do it. Seeing something through is about self-respect and respect for your teachers and coaches.

Whenever a girlfriend becomes negative, I remind her she’s a woman first above the role of partner, mother, teacher, etc. She still has her hopes and dreams and, if she doesn’t acknowledge and work on those, she doesn’t commit to her individual growth. It is my commitment to self that keeps me typing at this keyboard getting my words out.

Life isn’t fairy-tale-happily-ever-after. It’s messy and real.

Take a half-way through the year check-up. Ask yourself, are you checked in and committed to your life, or aren’t you?

Susan Shifay Cheung has turned her hand to many forms of writing in her various roles, over the years, as corporate trainer, management consultant, journalist and freelance writer. You can contact her at      Susan Shifay Cheung