The Power of a Promise

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 family, breaking bread together, sharing gifts and good times, and rolling into the new year with new energy and gusto, we are also creating big dreams, setting exciting goals, and making important promises.

I’m going to make 2016 my best year ever.
I’m finally going back to school to get my degree.
I’m not going to work so hard.
I’m going to finally get my health back.
This is the year to pay off my debt.

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 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.)”

Ask yourself:

• 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?

What can you do to make this shift? Here are some ideas:

• Start small with a daily goal and practice sticking to it.
• Make the commitment to establish a business plan with activity goals and financial goals so you know where you are headed.
• Give yourself permission to fail. Changing habits aren’t easy.
• Agree to measure and adjust along the way so you know you are not “stuck” with a plan that is not ideal.

Complete these activities to 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.

Choose one promise you’ve broken that you can begin to make a shift towards following through. What other ideas do you have that can help you begin to keep that promise?

Sometimes we need extra accountability in order to begin keeping commitments ourselves. If that’s you, I’d love to come alongside you to support you on that journey.