To make and keep your promise may be the most important habit you nurture. To not keep your promise is to reinforce the habit of failure.
How often do you make a promise? A promise could be as simple as
- I’ll take the trash out after dinner.
- I’ll do the dishes.
- I’ll call you to set up a lunch date.
- I’ll have it done by Friday.
Do you keep your promise? Or is there a never ending list of excuses you rattle off for not doing what you said you do?
What about all the promise you make to yourself:
- I’ll eat healthier this year.
- I’ll cut back on my drinking.
- I’ll quit smoking.
- I’ll write my book.
- I’ll start singing again.
- I’ll go to the gym I joined.
Whether you were making a commitment to someone else or to yourself, it is critical that you do what you say you’ll do, otherwise, it’s better to not say it at all in the first place.
… Modern psychology tells us that when we start something and did not complete it, or make a resolution and do not keep it, we are forming the habit of failure, absolute ignominious failure. If you do not intend to do a thing, did not start, if you do start, see it through even if the heavens fall; if you make up your mind to do something, do it; let nothing, no one, interfere …
~ Charles Haanel
What’s the Big Deal?
You may be thinking, what’s the big deal? So what if I didn’t take the trash out when I said I would.
The big deal is that success and keeping your word are found in your daily habits. Every time you say you’re going to do something and you don’t, you are forming the habit of failure. While your lack of keeping your word may affect many people, the most important person you’re hurting or disappointing is YOU.
At the end of the day when you look at yourself in the mirror, are you looking at a friend who keeps her word?
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the gal in the glass.
~ Dale Wimbrow
My husband Jim had a significant birthday this year. A few months prior, he made a commitment and a promise to himself: that he would be as healthy as he could possibly be by that birthday. He made it measurable by adding a weight loss goal. He followed through using a healthy diet and workout schedule with daily consistent action.
Every day he was faced with opportunities and decisions to go off track. Friends and family would encourage him to make an exception “just this one time.” After all, one time won’t hurt, right?
One time will hurt.
Each and every time you do something that is out of alignment with the goal you set for the promise you made, you make it easier to do again and again. When you keep your word, you build the muscle and the mindset that you always keep your promises.
Jim didn’t give into temptation – and trust me when I say he has them. He kept the promise he made to himself. In the days before his birthday, he hit his goal!
As his wife, I’m extremely proud of him and grateful for his commitment to his health. I also know how proud he is of himself for keeping his word. He is a promise keeper and he inspires me to be one too.
So, what was the last promise you made? Did you keep it?