Keep Your Word
“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
― William James
Keep your word. That seems like a simple and obvious thing to do. When we keep our word, we honor our commitments, increase trust in our relationships and increase our own integrity. Most of us are quite good at keeping our word. When we make a commitment to a friend or family member we usually follow through. If we say we will meet someone at a certain time we are usually there and on time. We go to work when we are supposed to and perform our tasks to the best of our abilities.
You might be asking, “So, what’s the problem here?” The problem is not with keeping our word with others but ourselves. How often have you told yourself you would start exercising and then didn’t? Told yourself you would eat better, start writing that book, start saving for that dream vacation…and then didn’t. While we are generally good at keeping promises with others, some of us have a hard time keeping the promises we make to ourselves. Why do we not show ourselves the same love and respect we would show others by keeping our word? Is it because we think there is no consequence? If I only let myself down, I am not hurting anyone? Am I?
Think about your closest friend. If you made a promise to them and didn’t keep your word. How would they feel? They may feel hurt, disappointed, sad and maybe even unimportant. All of these emotions may come up because you didn’t keep your word. Now ask yourself if these same emotions come up inside of you when you break your own promises to yourself? Do you feel let down, sad, upset, angry? Longer term, we may start to see ourselves as unreliable, lazy, and start believing that we aren’t important. How would that affect the way you show up in the world?
There are many benefits to keeping your promises to yourself. It gives you confidence, boosts your productivity and increases your happiness! Here are five tips to help you keep your word.
1. Forgive Yourself – First and most importantly, forgive yourself for your past mistakes. You cannot move forward if you are still busy beating yourself up for the things you didn’t do in the past! So take a deep breath, forgive and simply promise yourself to do better in the future.
2. Start Small – If you have frequently broken promises to yourself, you have created a strong habit. To change the habit, start with small tasks. Instead of promising yourself you will get in shape, promise yourself you will go for a five minute walk. Going for a five minute walk is an easy promise to keep and will start to build your confidence while establishing a new habit of keeping your word.
3. Be Patient – Be patient with yourself and practice the same compassion with yourself that you would with a close friend and relative. If you fail to keep your word, go back to step one and forgive yourself. Let yourself know that you are still committed to the promise that you made and start again.
4. Remember why you are making the promise in the first place – When we make a promise to ourselves, we do it because we believe that achieving the result will make things better for ourselves. Remind yourself of the benefits you are working for. Practice stepping forward in time to when you have achieved the benefits of keeping your promise. How do you feel? Are you happier, more confident, lighter?
5. Make a plan – Lastly, have a plan for keeping your promises. If you promise to work out three times a week, schedule the appointments in your calendar. Respect these appointments the same way you would any commitment you make with friends or coworkers. You cannot honor your word if you do not plan for the action that will fulfill the promise!
There are no promises more important to keep then those that we make to ourselves. I hope these tips are beneficial to you and help you keep your word!
I would like to know: How do you keep your word to yourself? Write the action steps that have helped you in the comment section below.