I am great at starting things. I have a million ideas, plans
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am dependable. If I tell you I will do something or be somewhere, you can count on it happening. But those are commitments I make to other people. Promises I make to myself are a whole other story.
Why do promises we make to other people seem more important than the ones we make to ourselves? Shouldn’t our yes be yes and our no be no regardless of who we give them to?
I have quit diets, quit businesses, quit relationships and quit goals. Sometimes my reasons are valid like when life happens and causes me to move anything that’s not essential to the backburner. But often, I get in the messy middle and lose interest.
Michael Hyatt says the messy middle is the “spot where everything is harder than you expected it to be. The hill is steeper. The road is longer. You are not sure you have what it takes to finish.”
Man, I know the messy middle well because that’s where I often bail out.
Am I the only one who does this? Do you make promises like this:
- I’m going to stop spending so much time on my phone.
- I’m going to spend more time playing with my kids.
- I’m not going to save $100 this month to put in savings.
- I’m going to stop eating so much sugar.
And how often do you keep your promises?
Maybe we could all do a better job at keeping promises to ourselves and could benefit from these three strategies I’m using to get better at finishing things this year.
Use a habit tracker.
I’ve known about tracking habits for a long time, but Crystal Paine (aka Money Saving Mom) reminded me how useful these are for tracking goals. If I can break my goals or projects down into a weekly or daily habit, I actually make progress on them because I use this tracker.
I have been using this tracker since January for my personal goals and habits, and because it has been so helpful, I plan to start using it for work goals and habits as well.
Say “yes” to very little.
Since I know I have a bad habit of committing to do something and then regretting it later, I am trying to say yes rarely. This sounds horrible, right? But, let’s say you are asked to work in the nursery at your church. Which of these responses is better:
“Thanks for thinking of me. I am happy to help with an older group of kids but working in the nursery is not a good fit for me.”
“Yes, I’ll volunteer in the nursery,” and then dread it every month and hope no one shows up or it snows and church
It’s better for you and those nursery kids if you speak the truth in love.
So whether it’s a volunteer opportunity, a large purchase, an invitation, guard your yeses and only give them if you can say, “Heck, yes!”
I totally saved the best for last here, because if you are me and have trouble keeping promises to yourself, find a way to build in some accountability.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” That’s scripture, people. It’s legit.
Your person may be a friend who has the same goal. It may be a mentor who has already accomplished what you want to do. It may
So, one of the promises I’m making to myself is to blog consistently. I’m going to add it to my tracker and join a mastermind group to hold me accountable.
What about you? What promise are you making to yourself that you will keep?