Personal Promise Power – How to make and keep promises
This time of the year, probably more so than any other, is the time that we reminisce over our past, and contemplate our futures.
While we are attending gatherings with friends and families, breaking bread together, sharing gifts and good times, and rolling towards the New Year with new energy and gusto, we are also creating big dreams, setting exciting goals, and making important promises.
The kind of promises we include:
- “I’m going to make 2016 my best year ever”
- “ This year I am going to establish meaningful purpose in my relationship with my family and friends”
- “I’m finally going back to school to get my degree.”
- “I’m going to establish a better balance between my personal life and my work”
- “I’m finally committing to doing what’s necessary to achieve optimum health.”
- “This is the year to pay off my debt.”
- You know your promises – we’ve all probably made them more than once in the past. Some you have kept; many are nagging reminders of unfulfilled commitments.
In Bill Phillips’ book Body for Life, he explains why keeping promises to ourselves is much more important than it appears on the surface.
Bill writes, “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, well… 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 though. 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”. Well, nowhere is that more true than when we apply it to our relationship with ourselves.)”
Learning to apply this knowledge and apply in different areas of life
So 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?
If you would like to start keeping promises, start today. You can ask yourself, what can I do to make this shift?
- How about starting small?
- How about setting daily goals and sticking with them?
If you are in business, you can ask these questions –
- How about making the commitment to establish a business plan with activity goals and financial goals so you know where you are headed? (hint: this also works in our personal life)
- How about giving yourself permission to fail, but failing forward by not giving up?
- How about agreeing to measure and adjust along the way so you know you are not “stuck” with a plan that is not idea
Use your imagination to think of what else you can do to balance and enhance your life.
Click below to complete an activity that will increase your awareness around promises you make and keep, and those you make and break. Additionally these activities will strengthen your promise making and keeping ‘muscle’ for more commitment, follow-through, confidence, and yes – trust.
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.