Stop Breaking Promises to Yourself and Begin Holding Yourself Accountable


Posted November 4, 2019

Apparently tardiness runs in my family so this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me but.. my sister is ALWAYS late! I don’t just mean 5-10 minutes, has a problem with tardiness, late. I mean lose your reservation, miss the plane, show up at halftime of the game- late. As you can imagine, after one too many ruined plans, she isn’t exactly at the top of my list to invite to… well, anything.

I’m sure you can all relate. Everyone has had a friend that continuously let you down. Either they were constantly late, flaked at the last minute or simply never delivered on their promises. What did you end up doing? My guess is that you lowered your expectations until eventually, you stopped relying on them at all.

Let’s use this same example with ourselves. When is the last time you made a promise to yourself only to cancel when that promise became a little difficult to uphold? Have you ever cheated on a diet? Have you ever made a purchase that went outside of the monthly spending budget you set for yourself? Have you ever left your house to head to the gym only to find yourself at happy hour instead? Okay, that last one might just be me, but you get the point. Why is it so easy to let ourselves down yet we feel guilt when we disappoint others?

If we continue to break commitments to ourselves, regardless of how big or small, trust goes out the window. You no longer take those promises you make to yourself seriously. Think about it, when you continue to make goals and not reach them, you create a mental habit of starting something that you know you won’t finish. You’re setting yourself up for failure.

Breaking habits are hard, and starting new ones can be even harder but where there is a will there’s a way. Here are 3 tips to rebuilding trust and holding yourself accountable.

1. Set small, achievable goals: Many of us fail because we set unrealistic goals. I’m all about self-confidence but in order to rebuild trust, we have to start small… think baby steps. Start with attainable tasks that you’re confident you can complete and actually follow through. For example, create a weekly home cleaning list with the goal of executing one chore each day. Scratch off each task as you complete it. Once you get in the habit of fulfilling your small promises to yourself, you’ll begin to see how motivating completing a task is, and learn to set more achievable goals for yourself.

2. Carve out time: Many of us struggle with completing goals, because we don’t plan out how to achieve them or how it will fit into our schedule. The famous excuse here is, “I don’t have time.” Of course not. There isn’t an endless amount of time that we can simply pull from when needed. We have to make time for the things that are important to us. We all share the same 24 hours per day; it’s how we choose to spend it that makes the difference. For example, if you want to complete a juice cleanse, set your alarm to wake up an hour earlier in order to make your daily supply of juice. When you schedule out the time needed to accomplish your tasks, you’ll learn to be more responsible and productive with your time.

3. Remind yourself of the why: If we set a goal for ourselves there is typically an emotional reason behind it. Why is this important to you? If it isn’t, or you can’t come up with a good enough reason, you will most likely quit when the going gets tough. In order to make a change or achieve a goal, you have to be sold on it. It isn’t enough to say you want to save money. What do you want to save money for? If it is simply to have extra money, you will buy the designer handbag as soon as you’re tempted. Unless your goal was to save in order to buy said designer bag then mission accomplished. However, if it is to buy your dream home in a safe neighborhood with a great school district so you can finally take the leap and start a family, you may be more inclined to pass up that shoe sale. Print out a picture of your dream home and keep it visible. Each time you look at it, imagine how happy you and your family will be in your new home. When you remind yourself of your why, you’ll find yourself more motivated and in return, more successful in keeping your promises.

I know it sounds simple, but it’s a lot easier said than done. It can be hard to motivate yourself to fold that pile of laundry or to read that book after a long day of work. After all, if we don’t do it no one will know, right? However, keeping those small promises to ourselves will teach us to be more realistic with our goal setting and to trust ourselves to accomplish them. After a while of keeping small promises, you will begin to challenge yourself more and more until you begin to accomplish the unthinkable.

Written By: Alyssa Burnham, Franchise Performance Coach

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