How Do You Keep Your Commitments to Yourself?
“But Lauren, how do you keep your commitments to yourself? It’s so hard,” she asked.
I’ve been thinking about my answer ever since because I haven’t always been good at keeping my commitments to myself. It’s only within the last year that I’ve really stepped up my game in this area.
Before I dive into what I think it takes to keep your commitments to yourself, let’s first talk about what it even means, and why it’s important.
Your relationship with yourself is one of the most important relationships that you have. The way that we relate to ourselves will be reflected in everything we do, including how we interact with other people.
If you have big goals (which, I believe you would want to have, because of all of the self development it takes to create that goal) you absolutely will need to improve your consistency with keeping your commitments to yourself.
When you have your own back, you also can rest easy that you are really able to feel and handle any emotion, which is the worst thing that can ever happen anyway.
If you’re down to feel anything, desire to live an epic life with big goals, and want to always strive to become the next best version of yourself, then keeping your commitments to yourself is key.
It also helps increase your self confidence, because as you follow through on your word to yourself, you’re able to learn that you are trustworthy and provide evidence for that.
Okay, so now that you are getting a glimpse into why keeping your commitments to yourself is essential for achieving your dreams, let’s talk about what it takes to become a person who keeps her commitments to herself:
You must be intentional when making your self commitments.
When you choose to make a commitment to yourself, it needs to be more than just a fleeting thought of, “Oh this would be nice to do.” When you do that, you do not set yourself up to follow through and complete it. When you think about it again, you’ll then think about how you always let yourself down and don’t do what you say you’re going to do.
But did you even really say it like you were going to have it completed in the first place?
When you decide to do something, you must make it official. For me, that means that I make sure that it aligns with my current focus. I check my calendar to see if I really am able to fit it in, or if I like my reason for deleting something else, in order to fit the new commitment in.
For so long, I would continue to take on more and more commitments, because in my brain’s fantasy world, there was enough time to take it all on, and do it all well. A+ well.
Some of you will find that you aren’t doing much, and that you fail ahead of time. That you don’t plan your time well (or plan it at all) and you have a lot of wasted time.
For others, they will waste time by being busy with a lot of things that do not align with their goals, or are actually not the most efficient and optimized way to go about creating them.
When you decide and commit to do something, make sure you’re 100% in, and ready for the next step of implementing it entirely.
If not, it’s a no.
A hard no.
You have to constrain your focus.
I alluded to this in the section above, but this is crucial. You must narrow your focus. I know, there are so many amazing things available to us in this world. There are many things we are interested in. There are an abundance of awesome opportunities. There are so many areas we want to improve and work on. There are a plethora of books, podcasts, courses, teachers, and topics to learn.
You can take on multiple things, but just know, you’re going to slow down your rate of achievement and decrease your potential expertise by muddying the waters with splitting your focus.
I still tend to struggle with this, and I think our brains do it for many reasons, one of them is that it appears to be much safer when you don’t put “all your eggs in 1 basket” and it’s easy to make the excuse that you didn’t go all in on something because you simply had “so much going on.” Be onto yourself.
When you make commitments, make sure they’re in line with your current constrained focus. If you don’t yet have a focus, make sure to go back and do the work of making sure you know what that is. I love to plan mine at the end of the year for the next year. Sure, they may slightly shift as I gain new information as life unfolds, but it helps to make sure I’m going after my desired goal for the year.
Be realistic and push your future self toward the goal.
Some of you are going to tend to be completely unrealistic with your time. You’re going to have lofty ideas about how quickly things will take you, and they may actually, physically take you longer. Or you may need to have new solutions if you still want to get it done in the same amount of time.
You must think about how you are going to execute it in your life. How your current thinking and life needs to change in order to accomplish the outcome you are committed to doing.
Others of you are going to play it too safe. You’re going to set goals that are easily attainable if you’re actually keeping your commitments with yourself. These may be useful to start with, to show yourself you’ve been capable all along, you’ve just been lying to yourself through quitting.
But be careful moving forward, when I say realistic, I don’t mean play is safe and small. I mean, push yourself beyond your current potential, and get uncomfortable going to work to solve for how you are going to create the result. Simply make sure you’re ready to commit to doing the thing because your future self is going to have to carry the plan out.
You have to have a system that works for you.
If you’re going to make commitments with yourself, you need a way to officially know what they are, how they’ll be implemented, how to stay on track, and when they’re done. They can’t just be something vague or abstract. I’d recommend you write it down. You know what the measurable goal is. You know when it fits on your calendar. You can check it off.
Whatever your system is, make sure it’s outside of your head and helps you get it done, every time. (If you’re still at a loss, don’t worry, I’ll teach you.)
The small things count.
Self commitment is applicable when we talk about “big goals” like your impossible goal for the next year, or your dream of scaling your business to over $1M in revenue annually. But don’t discount the micro-commitments that you make to yourself daily. Notice when you don’t follow through on the small things: The dishes. The flossing. The taking out the trash. The drinking the water. Putting your clothes away on the hangers. Everything counts.
When you don’t keep your commitments to yourself, it’s because you have a thought, that generates a feeling, that drives the action of the quitting. Start to be curious what those current thoughts are. They’re probably so sneaky and a part of your brain’s normal neural connections that you’ll even be tempted to say there’s no thought there, you just don’t do it or stick to it. You might even want to say it’s just your personality.
Simply start to notice what they may be.
They may even be as simple as, “I just don’t want to. It doesn’t really matter. No one would know.”
But you will know. You do want to, or else you wouldn’t commit to to it.
& it does matter.
It matters a lot.