Have you ever made a promise to yourself and didn’t follow through with it?
“I’m not having any dessert tonight,” but reach for the ice-cream after supper.
“I’m going to the gym after work,” then makeup excuses why you can’t go.
“I will wake up on time tomorrow,” and at the sound of your alarm press snooze.
The truth is, every time you break a commitment to yourself it has a negative impact on you.
Imagine making a promise to pick a friend up at the airport and then never showing up. On another occasion telling them you’ll make it to their party, but don’t attend.
How much trust does your friend have the next time you make a promise or commit to doing something? Probably, not very much. However, the same can be said about the self-commitments you break.
Breaking Personal Commitments
Every time you break a personal commitment, your trust in what you will or can do diminishes.
In most circumstances you’re more likely to break commitments to yourself than to others, but what does that say about you?
You become less confident in your decisions. You’re self-esteem declines. You may begin to ask yourself, “I said I’d do this today, but who am I kidding?”
Falling into this trap makes self-doubt normal. Now you’re surprised when you do make it to the gym, get up on time or skip out on dessert.
Creating this chain of failures only continues to reduce your confidence. Influencing your decision-making at home and at work.
If you’re a person who does not believe in themself, how will anyone else believe in you?
Build Back Trust
The negative consequences of breaking personal trust can be a good motivator to make a change.
You may feel like you’re in a tough hole to climb out of. With enough broken promises it now feels like a flip of a coin if you’ll succeed at meeting internal expectations.
Although the further you dig, the more difficult it becomes. Building back trust begins by doing what you said you’d do and repeating that action consistently.
I’ve discussed taking baby steps in creating habits, and the same can be said about building trust. It starts with very small actions that are so easy they are hard to say no to.
Here are 3 examples:
- Healthy Eating: Agree to have at least one vegetable at lunch every day. It can be as small as eating one baby carrot. Although you may eat more, make one the absolute minimum. Commit to being the type of person who has at least one vegetable with lunch each day.
- Exercise: You may have heard this before, but commit to doing a form of exercise each morning. As soon as you get up, you do one squat/push-up/sit-up whatever it may be. You can always do more, but every day you’re committed to doing at least one rep every morning.
- Mindfulness: Instead of trying to commit to a 10-20 minute meditation, commit to two deep breaths, once per day. Pick a specific time after an activity you do each day (eat lunch, have a coffee, get into work, etc.).
You may think that these actions are too simple, which they are, but that is the point. Taking on too much usually leads to failure. As you accomplish these mini commitments, you’ll begin to build up trust without even knowing it.
Over time you can increase the commitments you make and come back when you begin to slip up.
Make Winning Commitments
Prioritize your well-being over others by putting yourself first.
A time to be selfish is when other’s demands are having a negative impact on what you need to get done for you. Honor the commitments you make to yourself first, before taking on other peoples.
It’s hard enough to execute the willpower to take action on self-commitments. Insofar the more you fail, the less trust you’ll have in your abilities.
However, you can rebuild trust by starting to do what you say you’ll do. Taking small steps on personal promises can help get back on track.
How would you rate your ability to take action on personal commitments?
I regularly take on 30 days challenges to test my willpower on keeping self-commitments. I’ve felt that it’s greatly increased the trust I have in what I can accomplish and improved my confidence.
You can learn more about what these experiences taught me here.