We make promises to others all the time. “I’ll see you at noon for lunch.” “I’ll take out the trash after I finish this game.” These are short-term and not particularly weighty. Most of the time we keep them. Sometimes we have to be reminded a few times.
I am finding lately that the hardest promises for me to keep are to myself. Especially ones about exercising and eating. I think it’s because it’s much more personal. I try to run in the morning before breakfast…and often end up sleeping too long to get any decent miles in. Then I cut down my weekly mileage goals. “Oh, I can just do 10 miles this week.” That’s fine when I’m working the Microsoft gig and then the rest of the week when I’m editing the 100-plus pages of notes. My stamina is at a low ebb and I live in my sweats. Don’t judge! It’s also okay to rest when I’m sick or run down. Gotta get caught up on sleep somewhere. Better at home than while driving, eh?
However, most weeks I don’t have that excuse. It’s a normal week with meetings, church, occasional coffee dates, Zac and housework. In the interest of full disclosure, it’s much easier to remain inert than to exert any energy. Just saying.
Yesterday, while doing some online research about another topic, I came across this quote:
“Every time you make a casual promise to yourself – without checking in first to see if you actually want to and are able to keep this promise –you erode your trust in yourself.” – Jennifer Louden
Aha! A light bulb went on. Here’s a little more of what this blogger had to say:
How many times in the past did I say, “Tomorrow, I’m giving up sugar!” (hands on hips, toss of head). But I had no real intention of keeping that promise. Every time we make a promise we have no intention of keeping, we reinforce the story we are losers who can never change.
We have to consciously commit to something and back ourselves up to make it stick. Since I’m a Christian, that means I pray about it. I might even ask the Lord to give me a scripture to stand on when things get tough. He is faithful. I don’t have to get caught up in my excuses. I need to remember the weight and importance of my promise. If I don’t do that, I have a little less faith in myself, undermining my own self-confidence without even knowing it.
Rewind to this morning. I woke up later than I originally intended. I didn’t quite have time to run all the miles I wanted. So, I did a few. I made it home in time to feast on Jonathon’s and Ruby’s cat-shaped pancakes. Yum! Later on, I ran 2 more miles. I got the 5 miles in that I wanted. I kept the promise, albeit an unspoken one, I made to myself earlier this week. Obviously, there will be times when prior commitments keep me from doing everything I silently promise myself.
What promises have you made to yourself? Are you keeping them?