When my children were young, they would often joke around like any other kids and over-exagerate. However, a house rule that was sacred in nature was promises. If they said something and we responded, “Promise?” it meant it was solid and undeniable. Promise meant truth and it was a home rule that you never promised anything you couldn’t or wouldn’t do.
Possibly you had this same principle growing up. If not, I’d encourage you to start. I challenged you last week to find one habit that you can form, or something you can give up for six months — something that could have game changing impact. This isn’t you setting just a goal, it’s a promise that means something more. If you are someone who easily breaks promises to themselves, I’d invite you to make this six months a standard for all future goals and promises. Just like others build trust in us from the times we come through. Break the six months into one-week increments and keep yourself honest through the process. It will be July before you know it, but only if you keep your feet to the fire.
So make a goal that is achievable. I would encourage you to make a promise to yourself to do something that is not out of your reach completely. If you’re making the goal to work out three hours a day and you haven’t worked out in three years, I might suggest starting with 30 minutes and working up to three hours. Here is a good place to put the medical disclaimer of checking in with your healthcare provider to make sure all systems are ‘go’ before getting into any exercise routing. Make this promise sacred and important in your life. It will also be helpful to share this goal with someone who can assist in the accountability process. Lots of research points to the impact of another person on the change process.
I don’t give this challenge lightly. The moment your word is not only good to others, but fool-proof to yourself, is the moment your confidence and abilities will dramatically improve. When we can trust promises we make to ourselves it empowers us to achieve more — to make other goals of improvement, to become someone we’ve always wanted to become. Maybe that’s a licensed pilot, maybe that’s someone who can control their temper. Life is far too short to break promises to ourselves and spend time being someone we don’t want to be.