Keeping promises

Keeping promises… the ones we make to ourselves… might be one of the BIG lessons (skills) I’ve learned over the last few years.   It could very well be the key that made “this time” different in my quest for a healthier body.

Have you ever really thought about the promises you make to others – your kids, your spouse, your clients, heck even the cable guy – and how you bend over backwards before you’ll break them?  Only when it is REALLY necessary do you even consider it (I hope).  And that’s what keeps the relationship good, that’s what gives you integrity – in their eyes AND in your own.  If you become a person whose word is not worth much, it reflects on the way people see you and how you see yourself.

But what about the promises you make to yourself?  Those are broken if the wrong commercial comes on television or if we wake up 5 minutes late!  And that reflects on your relationship with yourself.  As soon as you make a promise to yourself, SELF says “oh sure, I believe you” (rolls eyes and lets out a sigh).  SELF knows that you aren’t good for your word.  SELF knows that she is not worth keeping promises for.

As I mulled over this idea I started to think – maybe this is what is different about me, different about my effort… maybe THIS is why it stuck this time!  When I make those promises to mySELF, I started keeping them!  And now when I make promises, it has to be REALLY necessary for me to break them.

What kind of promises?  They can be big or small, life-changing or a routine.  I promised myself I would workout on my camping trip – and I did.  I promised myself I would workout on Saturday, and I went to bed late, woke up late, was not super excited to go to the gym, was not excited about missing my “comfortable” time for working out… and a few years ago I would have broken that promise with excuse #1.  This past weekend, my little butt found it’s way into the garage lifting weights.  I didn’t even think I was not going to workout, just when I’d make it happen.

This was from last year's camping but you get the idea ;)  and the post needed a picture haha

This was from last year’s camping trip but you get the idea ;) and the post needed a picture haha

At one point I promised myself I’d learn to run – hence my 2 month effort to work up to 30 minutes without stopping (even though I have not repeated that feat in a year!).  But I kept my promise.  When I realized I didn’t enjoy running I could have stopped – you’d probably even help me justify it – “it’s ok, you don’t have to do stuff you don’t enjoy”.  But it’s become important for me to keep my promises if at all possible.  Sometimes it isn’t, but I don’t break them haphazardly.


Besides – when I learned to run I got to do fun things like this!

One promise I am dreading (but also excited about) is to do a one armed pushup before I am 40.  I honestly don’t know if I can do it – like if I am physically capable of doing this thing.  I am pretty sure I tweaked my shoulder getting overzealous with the practice for it – and that would be a solid reason to stop.  But it’s become important for me to keep my promises to myself… if for no other reason than to show SELF that I am good for my word, and that she is good enough for my word to mean something.

This skill is not just fitness related – I promised myself I would complete my photographer certification, even though it is completely voluntary and I’ve been running my business for 12 years without it.  I could have easily justified why it was not necessary to spend the extra hours studying and creating my portfolio.  What I could not justify was how I’d made yet another promise to SELF and then tell her it just didn’t matter. {Just call me Debi Gomez, CPP  ;)   }

I am not completely adept at using this skill I’ll admit (some of the business and fitness endeavors that got pushed to the side come to mind).  When things get difficult or scary, I want to pretend it’s ok to just break the promise.   And I realize that it is ok not to be able to reach the hoped for outcome, because the promise is in the effort.  That is the promise I want to keep.

How much closer to your goals do you think you might be if it were as awful to break a promise to yourself as it is to break a promise to someone else?

A sort of related story:  my teenaged daughter made a New Year’s Resolution to only eat french fries one time a month (I did NOT influence her decision to do this btw but I was pretty impressed).  And sure enough around the 20th of every month she is asking how many days it is until the 1st so she can eat fries again.  I notice everyone in the family giving her reasons why it is ok for her to go ahead and eat them just this time – because it’s hard to feel like your child is deprived in any sense but also because we don’t want her to associate food with “being good” or feel that we would not be proud of her if she gave in and ate something.  {I am extra proud she has resisted in the face of all this so called “support”.}  And then I realized, this was her promise to herself, and it is one of the greatest lessons she is self-teaching, to honor her word, not to me or teachers or her sister or her coach, but to herself!  YOU GO GIRL – that’s all I gotta say!


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