Below is a message sent out by Gary John Bishop, author of Unf*ck Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life. It hits the nail on the head and is worth a read! If you like his message, you can find more information at www.garyjohnbishop.com
Can you keep a promise? When you give your word, will you do what you said you would, NO MATTER WHAT?
I don’t mean the promises you make to your loved ones, friends, or boss. I mean the ones you make to yourself.
Can you keep a promise “with” yourself?
In short, the answer to that is “no”. And that’s a problem. Why? Because your success in life, your accomplishments, your goals, your well-being, in fact your entire experience of yourself can be found in the degree to which you can make a promise and keep it. In short, in this life you will only get as far as the strength and power behind the word you give to yourself.
Try on the idea that you hoodwink yourself into squeezing your way out of those personal promises with a litany of reasons and justifications. One reason, one justification, one excuse is all that’s needed to undo the greatest of plans, the mightiest of dreams and the most powerful of untapped potentials.
Then you wonder why you become disempowered in life! Eh…HELLO!?
It’s not that your failures come from consciously breaking a promise to yourself. Those little “breaks” are subtle, they creep up and swarm through the middle of your life, they eat away at your power and you willingly join in the feast. When you’re laying the thing out in your head, “I, such-and-such, will blah de blah”, right there, in that moment of enthusiasm or resolve there’s the little quiet back door, the still-yet loosely garnished loophole of comfort in the damn thing. Whether it’s been a badday, or a bad week, or someone said “no” or it became too challenging, or you don’t have the money, or whatever your thing is, you’re all too ready to hold your hands up in surrender when the moment comes.
Almost all of your promises have a back door, a way out. “I’ll go to the gym 5 days a week, except when it’s really cold or I have a bad day or Game of Thrones is on or my legs start to hurt or my cousin comes into town or...”
That’s right, you will do what you said you’d do - unless there’s a good and justifiable reason not to. And for some of you, it really doesn’t take much to qualify for a “good reason”.
“I don’t feel like it” is often good enough.
Look, you might even be a little more honest with yourself from time to time about this but even you still manage to give your promises the slip.
In either case, you go on, never quite acknowledging the broken promise or the cumulative impact this has on you. You convince yourself it’s okay. It doesn’t matter. You really were going to start that business, but then a family member died or you couldn’t afford to leave your job or whatever your excuse of choice might be.
You really were going to jog three times a week, but then you sprained your ankle. You really were going to call your Dad, but then you noticed your phone had lowbattery. Maybe later.
It’s not like you’re saying to yourself, “I’m selling out on my business dreams here; I’m continuing to indulge my dissatisfaction with my health. oh yeah, and fuck you, Dad!”
But in the end, that’s exactly what you’re doing. A promise isn’t just a promise. It’s a much bigger deal than that. When you break one with yourself, you can give yourself all the excuses you want, it doesn’t change the facts of the matter. You said you would and you didn’t. Period. Over time, that starts to have an effect on you. Deep down, you just know your promises are BS.
There’s another option though. It involves bursting through that veil and nipping the “yeah buts” where they lay.
The next time you start coming up with reasons why you can’t go through with it, you have to skip a day, or you’ll be fine with putting it off ‘til tomorrow, interrupt yourself, right therein that moment, remember, “I promised myself”.
Just like that, the question becomes a lot bigger. Are you willing to break the promise you made yourself?
It won’t be just bad luck, a miscommunication, or a lack of resources. It’ll be a matter of keeping your word.
“First say to yourself what you would be; then do what you have to do.” – Epictetus
The people who can make and keep promises with themselves have an incredible personal power at their disposal. Because when you can promise yourself something and then deliver, you can start promising some awfully big things.
It’s like a blank check. You can scribble anything in the ‘amount’ box and know that the bank will cash it. It’s only a matter of “when”.
“I promise myself __________.”
What will it be? A thousand dollars? A new job? Reinvented health? Real and connected relationships?
When you can count on yourself to keep your promises, the possibilities become endless. The only thing between you and the life you’ve always wanted is your willingness to deal with whatever comes your way while sticking to what you said you would do. All the time, every time.
Here’s a little nugget for you - Your future is always given by the very next thing that falls out of your mouth. Say great things. And stick to them.
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50 Wall Balls