Does that sting a little? I hear ya. It stings for me as I write it.
Let’s go ahead and get the tough stuff out of the way: If say you’ll do something and you don’t do it, you are a liar.
Hold off on the urge to talk about your intentions, your extenuating circumstances, etc. I know, I know. You’re busy. You’re stressed. You’re tired. You’re tried. You really intended to do it…
Let’s just get real. If you say you’re going to pick up your friend from the airport and you don’t do it, you broke a promise. Then, what if the next day you say you’ll meet a different friend for lunch and you no-show? You broke a promise. Then, later that day you tell your spouse that you’ll bring home dinner but then come home empty-handed; you did it again. When you do this every day – have this wide gap between what you said you’ll do and what you actually did – you’re a liar. And most people will also think you’re kind of a jerk, right?
Now, you’re probably thinking, “I’d never do that. If I tell someone I’m going to do something, I do it.” I hear you.
But what about when that “someone” is you?
What about when you make a promise to yourself? How often do you follow through? Or are you a liar?
How often do you say things like:
I’m going to make great food choices today.
I’m going to get to the gym today.
I’m going to drink more water today.
I’m going to get to bed by 10.
I’m going to track my food.
I’m going to pass on the wine or dessert.
And how often do you follow through? Or how often do you break your promise?
There is NO ONE that your word should be more valuable to than YOU. You are in dangerous territory if you think it’s more important to keep promises to other people than it is to keep promises to yourself.
If you routinely lie to yourself, everything you commit to is negotiable. When you declare, “I’m going to make good choices”, you instantly know it’s optional. It’s open for debate. It’s subject to your mood and your motivation. Why? Because it ALWAYS is!!!! This will make change nearly impossible until you develop the trust and confidence that you do what you say you’ll do. Period. No matter what.
The other day I had a particularly hard workout. Ok, it was brutal. It felt awful. I was miserable. I had to stop. I was sucking wind and I felt like I was going to be sick and I had to stop. I’m pretty sure I was overheating. I stopped when I still had 11 burpees to go. I stepped out and caught my breath for a few minutes. Then I went back and finished. Why? Because I had set in my mind that I was going to complete the workout. I told myself I would finish and I keep my promises to myself. My workouts aren’t optional. My WORD is not optional. They aren’t “try your best and stop when it’s hard”. They’re just not. When I decide I’m going to do something, I do it. Is it always in the time I thought? No. Is it always at the pace I thought? No. But I finish. I caught my breath. I cooled down a little. And then I finished. Because I don’t want to start thinking that things are optional. I don’t lie to myself. Lying to myself got me to 300+ lbs and I’m not that girl anymore. I finish. I follow through. I keep my promises.
So what do you do? How can you shift this pattern? How can you become a person of your word? How can you learn to follow through and trust yourself?
- Start small. Super small. Make a micro promise to yourself AND KEEP IT. This can be something as small as, “I’m going to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning”. Wake up and drink the dang water. Every single day until it’s a habit. Or you might say, “I’m going to have a fat loss friendly breakfast.” Don’t worry about the rest of the day but NAIL BREAKFAST. Do it every day. Do it whether you’re at home, on the road, whether you want to or you don’t. Keep the small promise. Make it VERY small. And then KEEP it.
- Stop debating with yourself. We do this all the time. We decide ahead of time that we’re going to the gym in the morning but the alarm goes off and we start debating. “I could sleep for just 5 minutes. Or maybe I should go tomorrow instead. I could probably squeeze it in later today. I didn’t sleep well so I’m going to get an extra hour of sleep instead.” We teach ourselves that our word means nothing and everything is open to debate. When that alarm goes off and the internal debate begins – SHUT IT OFF. “Nope. This isn’t debatable. Yup, I could talk myself out of it but I’m not doing that”. Recognize the urge to debate and then don’t do it.
Here’s your challenge: This week, make one promise to yourself each day AND KEEP IT. This doesn’t mean make 20 promises to yourself and keep one. It means make only one promise and then keep it. You should never get in the habit of over promising and under delivering. That will not help you reach your goals. Make one promise. Follow through. Build trust in yourself and your word. You know what, let’s help each other stay accountable – leave a comment with your ONE promise and let me know when you’ve executed! This is the first step to lasting change!