Has someone ever really let you down? Made a solemn promise and broken it?
How did it feel? Pretty horrible I suspect…
What about the other way around? Have you ever broken a promise to someone else?
We typically try with all our might to stick to our word, to follow through, to do as we say we will.
Promises are serious and there are strong feelings when they are made and broken.
We place a lot of value on being honest and having personal integrity.
What about a different question – “have you ever broken a promise to yourself and let yourself down?”
I know I have, more often than I’d care to remember. I can’t count how many times I was ready to change “tomorrow”. Somehow it seems much easier to duck out on these personal promises.
The kind of promises we make include:
• “I promise to take better care of myself- I’ll get back into exercising tomorrow”
• “I promise to spend more time with my loved ones”
• “I promise to have a better balance and stop working so much”
• “I promise to start being smarter with my money after the next pay day”
• “I promise I’ll start my new job search next week”
More often than not, we don’t live up to these personal commitments – we screw ourself over.
Learning to look yourself in the eye
If you had a friend who constantly made promises and let you down, what would you think of them? What value would you place on their promises to change? How long would you tolerate their behaviour?
Sometimes we treat ourselves much worse than we treat others.
When you break promises to yourself, you send yourself a powerful message that you are not important. You also go against your values around being honest and acting with integrity.
It gets really hard to look yourself in the eye if you keep bombing out on commitments to yourself.
The good news is that learning to keep promises to yourself has huge value for boosting self-confidence, productivity and happiness.
Learning to be accountable means you start to trust yourself. Each and every commitment you keep to yourself builds your self-esteem and faith in your ability to deliver. You learn to consistently do what you say you will.
Developing this sense of integrity will start to radiate into your relationships with the wider world. When you trust yourself, others will trust you more. You’ll find it easier to be honest with the world and call things as you see them.
Finally, you’ll be more productive and focused as you follow through on your most important commitments.
Over to you – Making and keeping promises
If you’d like to start keeping promises to yourself, start today. I started out making one promise per day and sticking to it about a month ago. Some key lessons I’ve learned are:
1. Make promises you can keep – be realistic in your daily commitment
2. Make it your number 1 priority – don’t let anything get in the way
3. Be specific – make your promise clear – I will go for a 30 minute run today
4. Write down your promise – keep it somewhere visible at home and at work
5. Chart your success – keep track of your daily success on a star chart somewhere you see regularly
6. Reward success – how will you celebrate keeping a week of promises?
I’ve found a huge boost in my personal well-being, confidence and happiness comes from keeping personal promises – I hope you’ll find the same.
Please leave a comment and share how you keep promises to yourself.
Photo credit : Photos8.com (Flickr Creative Commons)