mnmlist: Promise not to promise…

…unless you really mean it.

It’s a strange thing that we are much more likely to keep a promise we make to someone else than a promise we make to ourselves. At the start of February this is particularly pertinent because lots of people will have made promises to themselves at new year and lots of people will have broken them.

I used to do this a lot but in the past few years I’ve made some small changes:

1. I stopped making promises I wasn’t going to keep.

Every time I made an unkept promise I lost a little bit more of my power to change stuff. As a result I decided to make less promises and the promises I did make were a little more achievable. Now I’ve started to make promises a little more often and they are increasingly adventurous. I can do this because I know that when I make a promise, I keep it.

2. I didn’t see myself as failing to keep my promise if I occasionally drop the ball.

We can sometimes see a change in lifestyle as a game of proverbial keepy-ups. We think that if we drop the ball, just once, we’ve failed- just like we always do. It shouldn’t be like this. If we say we’ll exercise three times a week from now on and one week (even an early week) life conspires to get in the way, we shouldn’t say we’ve failed and give the whole thing up.

3. I write my promises down and look at them once or twice a day.

I do this to remind myself why I’ve made my promises, I take time to think about the benefits and think about how I really do want to make these changes.

These are my three simple strategies that I’ve promised to use. And I keep promises I make to myself.