Keeping Promises

Answer this question: Are you good at keeping promises?   I bet you answered yes. That’s because your brain automatically associates this question with the promises you make to other people.  Now what if I was to re-phrase this question as follows: Are you good at keeping promises to yourself?  Be honest now.  I’ll bet the answer is no for at least half of you reading.

Most of us are great when it comes to keeping a promise that we make to a friend, a co-worker or a family member, but we’re really lousy at keeping the promises we make to ourselves.  Why is this?  Think about some of the “promises” you’ve made to yourself over the years.  “I’m going to quit smoking.”  I’m going to lose weight.”  “I’m going to go back to school.”  “I’m going to stop eating dessert.”  Well, have you kept them?  Probably not!  The reason is that the promises we make to ourselves don’t have enough strength behind them.  They don’t have that same mojo as the promises we make to other people.  It’s called accountability.  The last thing we want to do is letdown a co-worker, a friend or a family member because we feel accountable to them.  Yet we have no problem letting ourselves down.  Does that make any sense?  Of course it doesn’t?   Get the picture?

It’s that time of year again folks.  January 1st is right around the corner and you know what that means; millions of us are about to transform ourselves for the umph-teenth time.  Here are a few tips that will help you keep the promises you make to yourself so that you will actually lose the weight, land the new job or steer clear of the midnight Oreo’s and milk.

  1. Write down your promise, your New Years Resolution, and post it somewhere.  For example, if your New Year’s Resolution is to get back to the gym, write it down on a post-it note in big black letters and stick it to the dashboard of your car or on the phone in your office or on your bathroom mirror.  You want to see your promise starring at you right smack in the face.  This way it is always in the forefront of your mind and there will be nowhere to run or hide.  This will lead to action.
  2. Have a conversation with yourself in the mirror every morning.  Stare at that image that is starring back at you and say, “Bob, I am going to lose 20 pounds.”  Say it multiple times.  Your reflection will become your new friend that you will feel accountable to.
  3. Set your cellphone alarm to go off every day at the time that best represents your new promise or resolution.  For example if your new resolution is to leave work every night at 6:00 P.M., set your phone alarm to go off at 6:00 and do this for a couple of weeks.  Eventually it will sink in.

The bottom line is this:  what you think about you bring about.  So the more focused you are on your personal promises the more they will resonate and bingo—transformation.