We have all made promises to ourselves at one time or another. We want to add something positive, like walking every day, or take away something negative, like eating junk food. Just like our New Year’s resolutions to eat better and exercise, we often break or fail to keep the promises we make to ourselves.
However, we take our promises a lot more seriously when we make them to someone else. We follow through on what we say because it’s the right thing to do. We gave our word. We don’t want others to lose trust in us or feel we aren’t dependable. These are strong motivators that make us keep our promises to others, but not ourselves. We forgive ourselves for breaking our promises much more easily than it would take someone else to forgive us.
Most promises made to ourselves start in the heat of an emotional moment when we are sick and tired of something. We may feel tired and sluggish and decide we need to diet. We may have credit card bills that we can’t pay off fast enough and decide to budget. We may watch the Academy Awards only to find out we haven’t seen any of the movies nominated and decide to get out more. Whatever it is that is bothering us, we decide that tomorrow we are going to do things differently. And we do…at least for a little while…then we fall back into old habits.
There are lots of ways I break promises to myself. I procrastinate. I tell myself I will do it tomorrow, but when tomorrow comes it’s today, so I put it off till tomorrow and the day after that. I find ways to distract myself from what I need to do, like finding something that is more important to do and can’t wait. That gives me the perfect excuse not to keep my promise. Another thing that sabotages me is that it is hard to start something new. They say that something doesn’t become a “habit” unless you do it consistently for six weeks. So even if you manage to start something and keep it up a few days you are always in danger of backsliding into old habits. Sometimes I will make a promise that I never really intended to keep or gave much thought to. Those promises die a quick death. And there are times when I am motivated and have every intention of following through, but I am derailed by something unexpected that has to take precedence or a disappointment that takes the wind out of my sails.
As I think about it though, I shouldn’t be breaking promises to myself. When I do, I am not only letting myself down, but those that love me too. My promises are all about making me a better, healthier, happier person. My family and friends deserve the best me I can be. I deserve to be a better friend to myself than I have been.
I have been on this 17 Day Diet for 94 days. I have stuck to it for the most part and have almost met my goal weight. However, I have not be 100% faithful. Since I easily lost the initial ten pounds I have slacked off on the water and exercise. I have kept some healthy things from the diet and not others. I am still losing weight, but I am not happy with myself. This blog gives me a good excuse to rethink, regroup and try to get back on track. I’m not getting any younger and, it’s more important than ever, to try to get on the road to good health.
It’s time that I kept my promises to myself and be as good a friend to me as I am to everyone else. Amen.