Keeping Promises

How to Keep Your Promises…

Steps Towards a More Motivated Life

Every new coaching client I accept into my programs, one of the first questions I ask is, “How good are you at keeping promises to yourself?”

In order to create a true transformation, a key ingredient is to be able to make a commitment; to make a promise to yourself to really go after your dreams, your goals, or whatever it is you are looking to accomplish in your life.

I hear people all the time say they can keep commitments to other people but not to themselves. I always challenge that. When performing a deep dive into that statement, I usually will find an excuse or two on why they couldn’t keep that commitment or this commitment to someone. As the old saying goes…
“How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything”

Therefore if you are not committing to yourself, more than likely you are not doing that great of job committing to other people or projects.

To be of true service to the world, you should want to look within and make those all important reflective changes to have the ability to open up your world to new possibilities. That is why it is of utmost importance to keep promises to yourself.

When entering into any coaching program or any course be it educational or physical such as exercise, that promise to yourself that you will do what it takes to make it happen is the number one first ingredient.

But the question lies, how do you keep your promises to yourself? How do you keep that commitment? What are your blocks and how do you push past them?

Discovering What Blocks You

Many people search high and low for techniques to find what blocks them. There is a belief that only a trained professional can uncover those deep unconscious blocks that you cannot uncover for yourself. Well, let me tell you a secret I discovered. Simply ask a person why they haven’t completed a task and they will spew off 101 excuses. Too busy. Don’t have the equipment. Don’t know how to write. Ideas just don’t come easy these days. No money. Working two jobs. Etc… You get the point. All those excuses are the blocks. They are what stop you from moving forward. It really is as simple as that.

As a coach, my job is to listen into those excuses and then ask two simple questions, “What would it be like if you didn’t have that excuse? Once the excuse is removed, how would you motivate yourself then?”

If I hear another excuse, I would ask the same two questions again and again until we drill down to what is really stopping them. What I usually undercover is that they are not ready and they are too afraid to admit it because they think admittance would be a failure. This causes them to feel that they themselves are the failure. That feeling is the true limiting belief that is stopping them from achieving their goal or keeping their promise. They already see themselves as a failure and therefore, manifest the failure within them by subconsciously creating action steps that keeps them stuck.

BELIEVE

YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE! In Fact, you are very successful just as you are! 🙂

There is something else that is more of a priority and our job together is finding that one item you keep denying yourself. Whether that means taking writing classes to become a confident writer or learning how to manage time so you can fit in an exercise practice. When we find it and complete that goal, then the other goal will more than likely fall into place.

Finding that other priority goal is not always that easy. Sometimes it takes 3 to 4 sessions just to locate why you are making excuses. For instance, there was a client of mine that for some reason had the toughest time finishing this scrap book project she had been working on for years. She originally came to me because she wanted to start her own business but over time all her tasks kept going uncompleted. We talked about it for over two months and she couldn’t keep her promises to finish many of the tasks she herself set in our sessions. Finally one day I asked, “What is your longest running project?” She talked about this scrap book and how she always wanted to finish it but never had time. This scrap book was over 15 years old. I stopped her right then and there and gave her one task… Finish the scrap book. Within two weeks she went back to that old project and actually finished it!!! WOW! What an accomplishment.

Over the next two weeks of finishing that one project, she started to complete all others. She had hidden that priority so deep inside her, that she forgot about it; yet it was the one block that was stopping her from moving forward because her thought was that she was a failure and that she didn’t have the ability to keep promises to herself.  She didn’t recognize just how important that scrap book was to her.

You see, you may also have a hidden priority that could be stopping you. Ask yourself, when is the last time you kept a promise to yourself? Get into it. Feel what accomplishing that promise felt like. Relive the moment. You might be surprised what you uncover.

Other times, when I hear deep silence from a client, I can tell they are hesitating. Usually, that hesitation means they know exactly what the priority project is and either they have fear to admit it or they haven’t broken it down into smaller pieces and therefore the goal is overwhelming to them. A trained and experienced time management coach will be able to work through that with you so you can break it down and begin to chip away at it.

Moving into Keeping your Promises

Now that you discovered your block; Your true block, not your “made up excuses” blocks. You can begin to open up to an awareness that will move you past the block and into motivation. In this stage, we focus on that motivation and the advantage of completing the desired goal. What will completing that goal do for you? What will it look like? How can you make it fun? What are the ways to make it ridiculously easy?

It is said that to keep promises you have to have discipline. But the more I read about discipline, the more I think it is an illusion. Google defines discipline this way:

dis·ci·pline /noun

the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.

UGH! Who would want discipline?!? I say forget the negative side of discipline and welcome in the positive side of motivation.

mo·ti·va·tion /noun

the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

Define your reasons on why exercising or writing that book or developing that speech or quitting that dead end job are important to you. Write them down. Repeat them out loud everyday. Get support and don’t give up. Your desire is important. That goal you really want to have is important. Those blocks that keep you from your goal are not important.

Finally, The 12 Steps to Keeping Your Promises to YOU

Here is the part you all have been waiting for. What are the steps to keep promises to yourself?

  1. Bring to light and admit what goal or promise you are not keeping.
  2. Define the reasons why that goal is important to you and read those reasons everyday, either before bed or first thing when you wake up in the morning or both. This is the feeling part. Make it personal for you. What are the values; the deep desires to complete this goal?
  3. Determine the blocks by telling yourself the excuses.
  4. Work towards removing the blocks (this is easier to complete with a partner, such as a coach, therapist or supportive friend or sponsor)
  5. If there is a hidden goal that needs to be completed first, find it and prioritize it so you move on to that burning desire that is within you now.
  6. Develop a support system to keep you accountable.
  7. Break down the steps if you are in overwhelm.
  8. Find the advantages to keeping the promise. How will this help others? How will this help your timeline or schedule or your future? If you complete this, then what will happen?
  9. Discover how to make it fun.
  10. Have PATIENCE! So many people forget this step. You will want to remember that life is a journey not a destination.
  11. Live in Acceptance. Sometimes we don’t always get what we want, but we receive what we need.
  12. Trust you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

I’ll leave you with this last quote from a song by The Rolling Stones…

You Can’t Always Get What You Want… But if you try sometimes, you get what you need!

7 replies
  1. Susan Burns
    Susan Burns says:

    “Define your reasons on why exercising or writing that book or developing that speech or quitting that dead end job are important to you. Write them down. Repeat them out loud everyday.” This is the key for me, along with writing down my next steps. And I often need to refresh myself on why I think I can do this.

    Living with narcolepsy, I figure I get about 10 hours a week of being awake and able to think clearly. So it is important for me, when those times come along, that I can jump on the tasks that need to be done. And it truly is important for me to keep my promises to myself so that I CAN feel good now and again.
    Susan Burns recently posted…Tibetan Healing Meditation

    Reply
  2. Kendra
    Kendra says:

    Oh how I agree with you about “discipline” though I don’t think I really thought about it before. Am totally changing the way I look at that and will be using “motivation” instead. A much nicer word. I know that I have some blocks that I need to clear. Reading about that here is certainly going to be making it much easier for me to do so. And I will be printing out your 12 Step List to keep nearby.

    And I too believe in the power of play – which can change in meaning from day to day.

    Reply
    • Connie Benedict
      Connie Benedict says:

      So happy that you enjoyed the article and I converted another to use the motivation phrase! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words and glad to know my 12 steps will be viewed often. Now let’s go play! hehe

      Reply
  3. Elleyess
    Elleyess says:

    Hi Connie, this is such an inspirational post. It reminds us that the best investment you can make, is in yourself. And even in moments where things seem and feel impossible, you need to believe that you can take it home and never lose sight of your goal.

    Too often we become discouraged by unexpected bumps along the way that make us falter or question our ability to accomplish. This brings it back home and helps us think it through. Your post also reminds me of a Forbes post I read recently (http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/11/18/mentally-strong-people-the-13-things-they-avoid/), which also made me feel empowered.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Connie Benedict
      Connie Benedict says:

      Thank you for your kind words. The article at Forbes was a great read. There is so much inspiration out there for people. When they are ready, they will stumble upon the articles they need the most to push past their hurdles and into their new light. Sometimes, I think feeling empowered is all it takes to be productive in following your dreams. There are so many ways to get there and only you hold the key. Thank you for pointing me to another great resource of information. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Kate
    Kate says:

    Hey Connie! Ugh, agreed on the word ‘discipline’. I understand that it’s important to build habits and sometimes to push through even when you don’t want to, but there are definitely some negative connotations surrounding that! Thank you for those steps~ especially #9 — FUN is the most powerful motivator I know! 🙂

    Reply
    • Connie Benedict
      Connie Benedict says:

      Your welcome. I am glad you found value in my post. I try to make everyday as fun as possible. Fun is defined in different ways for me in the moment. Sometimes fun in an adventure and sometimes it is sitting quietly with my furchildren around me. Fun is what gives me a smile and creates a peace around my being. As I create more fun in my life, living life becomes effortless.

      Reply

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