It’s easy to break a promise to yourself because it only affects you. Here’s why you should take promises you make to yourself more seriously, and how to start off easy so you don’t let yourself down again.
Photo by The Grim Atheist.
When you break a promise to someone else, you let them down and hurt your credibility. That knowledge keeps you from promising something you can’t do, and it pushes you to actually follow through. Breaking a promise to yourself, however, can seem like no big deal in your mind because you know you’re not letting someone else down. This can present a problem where you may start to value other people’s needs a lot more than your own, so you never take care of yourself. That lack of pursuit toward personal well-being can lead to serious burnout, and even depression. To counteract that, Michael E. Kibler at Harvard Business Review suggests you start taking the promises to yourself just seriously as the promises you make to others:
…we advise people to start by making one small but exceptionally meaningful promise to themselves — and to stick to it with 100% integrity. For example, if you decide that more time with family is most important to you, you might commit to eating dinner together at home three times a week for the next two weeks. And, if you successfully keep that promise, it should give you the confidence to try another: you might commit to walk for a half-hour every weekday, or to sharpen your presentation skills by tackling a public speaking course. Everyone knows the customer service principle “underpromise and overdeliver.” Treat promises to yourself in the same way.
Keep your promises realistic and actively plan out a way to follow through. If you don’t think you can do something, don’t promise yourself that you can. Not only will you get to take care of your own well-being, but over time you’ll also build up reliability in yourself. That self-reliance can increase your confidence and help you take on new habits. Read more at the link below.
Treat Promises to Yourself as Seriously as Promises to Others [Harvard Business Review]