Keeping your word is critical to restoring your sanity and creating a meaning driven life. When I say, "keeping your word," I'm referring to honoring what you commit to. It's keeping your promises, especially with yourself.
Unfortunately, we usually betray ourselves more than we do anyone else. We say one thing and do another. For any of you who have children or, for that matter, who once were children, you know how it feels to have a promise made and then broken. You lose faith and trust in the other person. Well, the same thing occurs with you. When we don't keep our word we lose our credibility and it undermines our self-esteem. Every broken commitment is a crack in the foundation for creating a quality- driven life.
It is time for true confessions: how many times have you said you're going to exercise or eat better and not followed through? We've all fallen into the trap of saying we're going to do something and then finding every possible excuse not to do it. Have you noticed that the next time you make a similar promise to yourself it's tainted with doubt? You don't completely trust that you're going to do what you say.
Whatever you neglect to respect-the commitment to spend more time with your kids, to live by a financial budget, to be more understanding of your parents-these betrayals poison the well of your credibility. They undermine your integrity and trustworthiness. It's not that the fickle finger of fate is going to come down and punish you. It's about your not having the internal support to accomplish the changes you want to make.
The key to being successful is to start small. Don't make any grand proclamations that will set you up for failure. Keep it simple. Only commit to what you honestly know you can and will do. Otherwise don't say it.
For example, rather than proclaiming, "I'm going to leave the office everyday at 5," a more reasonable and achievable approach would be, "I'm going to leave work at 5 today." It's the old AA concept of one day at a time. Instead of saying, "I'll never yell at my kids again," which is next to impossible to do, why not be more sensible and say, "Today I'll speak to my children in a calm manner." Or "From now on I'm going to spend at least a half an hour a day doing something that nurtures me." Wouldn't it be more realistic to say, "Today I'm going to set aside a half an hour for myself." The secret is to make promises that you know you can keep. Manageable commitments allow you to be successful and to become a person who keeps her word and is trustworthy.