How to Keep Promises to Yourself

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Each one of us has made some type of promise to ourselves.  It may have been a promise to eat healthier, watch less T.V. and read more, or even to wake up earlier.  Our promises to ourselves are usually made in order to create a better life by adding something good, or taking something away.

There many moral reasons why we want to keep promises to other people.  It may be because you believe it’s the right thing to do.  It may also be because you want to be known as a trustworthy person.  Or even because you really want the other person to benefit from what you are promising.

But sometimes those reasons don’t apply to promises to ourselves.  It’s a lot easier to forgive yourself for breaking a promise than it is to get someone else to forgive you.  That may be one of the reasons why breaking promises to ourselves is so easy.  We’ll, I think all promises made are important.   In this post want to show you how you can begin to honor the promises that will make the most difference in your life; the promises made to yourself.

Ok, I’ll Start Tomorrow”

This is sometimes said before a promise is made.  Let’s think about it.  How many times have you said that to yourself before going on a diet?  Or before you go on a budget?  Or maybe even before you promise to quit smoking?

 Most promises to ourselves are made based off emotion.  It usually happens when we get to a point where we are sick of something that we’ve been doing that isn’t good for us.  We know it’s not good, and we feel bad for doing it.  So we make a promise based on that feeling truly believing that we are going to keep the promise.

What usually ends up happening is the feeling fades and reality sets in.  From there we begin the short road back to where we were by breaking our promise.

Here are a few reasons why people break promises:

ProcrastinationPutting off getting started or what needs to be done in order to keep the promise.

Temptation-Everything around you pulls you in the opposite direction of your promise. 

Habit-Being used to doing something for so long makes it difficult to stop and not doing something for a long time makes it hard to start.

Spur of the Moment-We think it’s a good idea to make the promise at the time but never really commit to keeping it.

Unforeseen circumstances-Sometimes unexpected things happen that prevent or delay our promises from being fulfilled.

Keeping Promises

Test Your Reliability

Testing your reliability means that you make small promises to test your threshold of reliability.    It’s all about taking small steps.  Often, people try to tackle the big problems in their lives even though they are unable to conquer the small ones.

By keeping small promises, you are building trust in yourself.  With every promise kept, your belief in yourself strengthens and your expectations for yourself rise.  Soon, keeping promises to yourself will become a part of who you are.

You want to build trustworthiness within yourself.  There is probably someone in your life that you know you can count on.  This person is usually very good at keeping their word and doing what they say they are going to do.  When they say they will meet you somewhere at 7:30, you know that they will be there at 7:30.  You are never really surprised by their ability to keep their word to you.

This is the same type of expectation that you must build for yourself.  Once you begin to keep small promises to yourself, you will begin to only expect that all promises that you make to yourself are also kept.  It will become normal for you to do the things that you say you will do.  From there, you can move on to set bigger and more meaningful promises.


Make Meaningful Promises

What is it that you want to change and what is it going to do for your life?  Answering this question can make all the difference.  You are more likely to keep a promise that is important and impactful.  Empty promises are usually forgotten about soon after they are made.

However, a meaningful promise is different.  A promise that means more to you is more likely to be honored.  There may also be a bigger feeling of disappointment if that promise is broken.  A person is usually more emotionally invested in a promise that has the potential to alter their life.  It could be a promise to change your diet and eating habits that make a dramatic difference in your health, looks, and overall quality of life.  That’s pretty meaningful.

Once you’ve tested your reliability, go after those promises that you’ve broken in the past.  Set your sights on the mountains that seemed to high and steep to climb before. 


Get on the Same Page with Your Mind

If your mind and body are fighting for control, it’s time to call a meeting and straighten out what is going to happen.  When quitting bad habits or starting good ones, there is a power struggle.  The mind usually wants things to change but the body wants to do whatever it wants to do.  If you know that you should be waking up early to go for a 30 minute jog, it’s usually your body that hits the snooze button and keeps you in bed.

So I suggest that you have a meeting with yourself.  In this meeting, understand what role your mind and body have in keeping the promise.  There are sometimes mental obstacles as well as physical ones that you will have to face.  Understand exactly what it is going to take to keep the promise.

During this meeting, you should understand what needs to take place mentally and physically in order for the promise to be kept.  What information do you need to learn?  What knowledge do you need to be applying?  What habits do you need to build?  How much time and effort is necessary?  All of these questions and more may come up at the meeting.  Answering these questions will give you a better understanding of how to keep your promise

Make it Legal

If you are serious about keeping your promise, draw up a contract with yourself.  Workout the terms and conditions of the promise and sign it.  Keep the contract where you can see it.

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