I’ve been cleaning up this space and found another gem I had written in 2019 but never published. Even though this was written pre-pandemic, I believe that these words will be helpful for this present season. More than ever we need to be proactive in taking care of ourselves and our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Here are some tips on how to keep promises to yourself and why this practice is essential for your health.
At the start of October, I committed to 100 workouts. A new program had just released and a few friends and I decided to do it together. This program was designed to be done in the morning as a way to set the tone for the rest of the day. The workouts average 20-30 minutes long which make it easier to fit into a morning routine. The purpose of it is to commit to 100 workouts – no matter how long it takes you. I know a few people who doubled up the workouts and had the program done in 50-60 days. I, on the other hand, have taken a little bit longer but I am finally in the home stretch!
I’ve talked a bit on Instagram how I’ve struggled with getting back to my regular morning routine and stay consistent with my workouts these last three weeks. My past limits and weaknesses tell me that I’ve done enough and I can give up now. I started getting that “itch” for a fresh start. Have you ever felt that? It’s like this burning desire to start something new – to make a change. I love fresh starts, but this program has really challenged me to see things all the way through.
Why “Keep Your Promises”?
That brings me to the title of this post: Keep Your Promises. If you make plans to have coffee with a close friend, how likely are you to keep that commitment? Probably pretty likely. In fact, you might feel compelled to move other things around in order to prioritize it. But how about when you make plans to take time for yourself? My two favorite things to do for me lately have been to read a book and workout. But too often other things get in the way of that time and I compromise in a way that prevents me from taking that time for myself.
Now I know how selfish that might sound. The thing is, sometimes we need to be a little selfish with our time. What I mean by that is, we have to protect our time and our hearts so that we can give more freely to others. In order to do that, we need to learn how to keep commitments to ourselves first – I’m totally speaking to myself here too! If we are constantly making compromises and giving our time away to other things, we will burn out.
I don’t know if this is your experience too but every time I don’t follow through on a commitment to myself, I hear this whisper of a lie that I am not reliable, that I can’t be trusted. There was a season that this whisper was not a whisper but an angry attack that I often spoke aloud to myself when I felt like I’d failed. It was a vicious cycle that I didn’t know how to get out of. But I’ve learned and let me tell you how – just in case you struggle with this too…
I started with making small commitments to myself. Like, cleaning up the journals I’d left on the table or folding the laundry that’s been sitting on the bedroom floor for a week. Just one small task that I could commit to and then follow through on. The reason I had to start small was because my to-do lists were so long that even Mary Poppins wouldn’t have been able to complete it. I ended every day feeling like I’d accomplished nothing other than adding more items to my list. By starting small, I was able to slowly build confidence in my ability to follow through on things I had asked myself to do.
Hopefully this doesn’t come as a surprise but you’re not always going to want to follow through on the commitments you’ve made to yourself. I knew that committing to 100 workouts wasn’t going to be easy but with accountability, I’ve shown up for 83 of those workouts so far. I definitely have not always felt like showing up for my workouts or choosing to bake healthier sweets instead of buying drive-through donuts. But I did it anyways because I have people holding me accountable to show up for myself.
Know your WHY
Part of finding accountability is knowing WHY you’ve made that commitment in the first place. Why did you commit to folding all the laundry today even though it might take you half an hour? Why are you pressing play on your workout at 10pm because that’s the first chance you’ve had all day to do it? Why do you wake up an hour before your kids get up so you can have a little alone time? Your WHY is what will help you keep those commitments you’ve made to yourself even when it’s hard and you feel like you have every reason to compromise on yourself.
What changed when I started keeping promises to myself?
The biggest, most immediate change was in my self-talk. I have always been my own worst critic and sometimes I have a tendency to be very unkind to myself. I believed for a long time that I was incapable of sticking to a fitness program of ANY length – let alone one that was 100 days long. If I’m being honest, I believed I couldn’t see anything through. To be fair, I had a few experiences that I thought supported this belief. But by starting small, I built the confidence that it was possible for me to follow through on promises I made to myself.
That was the other change I noticed: my confidence in every area grew. As I began to believe more in myself, I carried myself differently. I noticed growth in my spiritual disciplines, my personal life, and my marriage. My perspective had changed to being excited to be challenged because it led to greater growth. I am so grateful for my husband and the people in my life holding me accountable that spoke truth in my life and helped me see what I was capable of.
If you need help believing that you can keep promises to yourself, let’s connect over on Instagram! I’d love to cheer you on as you figure out your WHY and shake off lies that you may believe about yourself and your abilities. You can find me at @alittlefaith_momblog.