As we move further into the new year, I’m wondering, How are you doing with those promises you made to yourself on January 1 to make this your best year ever? to work less and enjoy life more? to get in better shape? to spend less and save more?
You know your promises – you’ve probably made them more than once in the past. Some you have kept; many are nagging reminders of unfulfilled commitments.
In Body for Life, author Bill Phillips explains why keeping promises to ourselves is much more important than it appears on the surface:
“When you set an important goal you must promise yourself that you will finish what you start, no matter what. That vow, although it might be very easy to break, is by far one of the most important ones to honor. You see, the very essence of confidence is self-trust. Would you trust anyone who repeatedly lied to you? Someone who broke the rules of the game again and again? Of course you wouldn’t. So if you’ve developed a pattern of not honoring self-promises, this is a great time to make a change. If you can’t honor, trust, and depend on your own word … that may be the root of a lot of challenges in your life – a lot more than you realize.
“This is a critical – and eye-opening – issue for each of us to face.
“Most people have a very hard time answering the simple question, Do I keep my word to myself? (Or, should I say, they have a hard time answering it honestly.)
“The thing about lying to ourselves is that we never, ever get away with it. On the surface we may fool our minds into ignoring and not admitting what we’re doing, but deep down, in the place where all truth resides for each of us, in the place where we know and see ourselves as we really are – in that place, we are causing pain and damage every time we’re not totally honest with ourselves…
“…It doesn’t have to be like that. No matter how long it has been like that, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Contrary to what many people think, it’s a lot easier to keep the promises we make to ourselves than it is to break them.
“Keeping these promises unleashes enormous energy and potential. That potential emptiness created by self-deception will become filled with strength, certainty – and yes, confidence – if you honor self-promises. (We’ve all heard the phrase ‘The truth shall set you free.’ Nowhere is that more true than when we apply it to our relationship with ourselves.)”
How can you take this knowledge and apply it to your business, career, health, finances and relationships? Are there promises that you are making and not keeping? How does that affect your energy, motivation and progress? How does it make you feel about yourself?
Here are some mindset shifts to make you a better promise keeper when it comes to your business:
- Starting small, and know that each baby step gets you closer to your bigger vision.
- Set daily goals and stick with them.
- Establish a business plan with activity goals and financial goals so you know where you are headed.
- Giving yourself permission to fail.
- Measure and then adjust along the way so you know you are not “stuck” with a plan that is not ideal.
- Course correct as needed!
What else can you do?
The significance of keeping promises to ourselves is profound. Examine your own habits to see if in fact you break the promises you make to yourself. And, if so, make the shift to putting your promises at the top of your commitment list.
Integrity as a Core Value
When I take my clients go through a process of defining their top core values, most put integrity at the top of their list. I bet you do, too. While integrity to one person may mean something else to another, isn’t the basis of integrity keeping promises and honoring one another?
So when you don’t keep the promises you make to yourself, that puts you out of integrity. No one else has to know you broke your promise, but you know.
Shouldn’t that be enough?
I’d love to hear your experience with making promises to yourself. Do you keep them — or not? Please comment below.