Do you often find yourself making a commitment to do something, then not doing it and making excuses instead? We tend to do this more often with ourselves than others. We are less likely to break commitments with our clients, co-workers, friends, or family. If we say we will do something, we are pretty sure we will stick to that agreement.
Then what happens when we make commitments to ourselves and then break them? Why do we hold ourselves as less important than others? Think about this. Do you make commitments to yourself like exercising every day, or practicing meditation, or doing some action item on your list that will take you closer to a goal? And then time runs out, and you don’t do what you said you would do, and make excuses, rationalizations, and bargains. You might say, “Well I didn’t walk a half hour today, so I’ll walk one hour tomorrow.”
Take a look at what commitments you make with yourself that you seem to break a lot. How important are these agreements? Will they make a difference in your life? Will they help you reach your goals? Sometimes all we have to do is one thing every day to move toward our goals. But we even sabotage that small effort.
Catch yourself when you’re breaking a commitment. Listen to what you say to yourself each time you talk yourself out of walking. Observe what you do instead of what you committed to do. Stop when you see your patterns, and make a conscious choice to change, to make new choices that will honor your word to yourself and move you closer to your goals. Look at the reasons you may be sabotaging yourself. Do you really want this goal? Do you suffer from fear or success or failure? Breaking commitments, procrastinating, and making excuses are all a form of some fear that is operating beneath the surface. Uncover that and you can move forward with ease.
How about making a contract with yourself that you sign that includes your commitment to take certain actions to reach a certain goal by a certain date. Making a contract helps you keep your commitments. You might even want to have a witness sign the contract with you for accountability. Or have your coach hold you accountable. Think about the consequences if you don’t keep this commitment, and have some rewards in place. Here is a sample contract:
I ____________ will walk every day for 20 minutes beginning _______ (date) for 30 days. Every day I keep my commitment I will write in my journal how I feel about myself for doing so. Every day I break my commitment I will write in my journal why I didn’t keep it and how I feel about that. At the end of 30 days, I will reward myself with ________________ for walking for 30 days. My consequences for not keeping this commitment are ______________.
When you don’t keep commitments to yourself, you start to break your level of trusting your word. If you broke your word to a friend, you would probably apologize. But do you apologize to yourself every time you break your commitments to yourself? If you do this, you can restore your trust and learn from your past decisions. Acknowledge that you didn’t keep your commitment, go back to your contract and redo it, look at why you didn’t keep it, and apologize to yourself with the reassurance that you will make your best efforts to keep future commitments.