Keeping Promises to Yourself

Keeping promises to yourselfI’ve noticed that I often have more motivation to accomplish goals and tasks at work, or for others, than my own personal goals and tasks.

Have you experienced this too?

Like the builder who constructs great homes for others, but hasn’t finished his own personal home remodeling project? Or the doctor who takes good care of other people, but not herself?

Lawrence LeShan observed this phenomenon when he said:

“Most of us are pretty good at keeping promises to others and pretty bad at keeping promises to ourselves.”

Why is this?

I think the biggest reason is this: the lack of a sense of urgency.

When we are given a task or job to do at work, we have an immediate sense of urgency to get it done. Otherwise, there are consequences – we could lose our job.

Similarly, when we make a promise to do something for someone else, we feel a sense of urgency to get it done. Otherwise, they’ll think less of us.

But when it comes to the promises we’ve made to ourselves, of things we’re going to do, be, have and achieve, we often put them off to a more “convenient” time. Or we just never get around to taking a step to make them happen.

This can make us feel out of balance, or cause feelings of angst and disappointment.

So how can we keep the promises we make to ourselves?

I think we need to treat those promises just like we’d treat the ones we make at work or to a friend:

  1. Get a clear vision or understanding of the dream or goal.
  2. Know exactly why this dream or goal is important to you.
  3. Set a deadline for when it should be accomplished.
  4. Create a simple plan of action – breaking it down into smaller steps.
  5. Take that first step.
  6. Take the next step until it is completed.

For more tips on achieving your goals and dreams, read Setting Goals and Achieving Them.

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  1. Another helpful hint: visualize your “future self” (in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years) and have to “answer” to him/her … that way you have to deal with your “future self” judging you based on your present day actions, which can give you the same feeling as worrying that a friend will “think less of you”.

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