As the new year begins, there is the flush of a fresh start, the inspiring hope and excitement that things can and will be different. Unfortunately, that inspiration of change soon fades into quickly forgotten self-promises. Quickly followed by our “inner mean girl” who berates us and tells us know once again, we’ve failed. Ugh!
The Pain of Unkept Promises
We’ve all been disappointed by others when they say they are going to do something and don’t. But nothing compares to the feelings I have when I continually let myself down or break a promise to myself. It sends me right down that rabbit hole of personal criticism, self-loathing and guilt.
What is a promise? It’s a commitment to ourselves or to others to do something. We keep a promise through our actions. Interestingly, while we may keep promises to others, we frequently break promises we’ve made to ourselves. We all know how that feels—not good!
One Simple Action
Now, we could see a therapist to figure out why, sit for hours in self-reflection, or read dozens of self-help books (Yes, I’ve done all of them and yet still struggle with this.) Rather than focus on a big promise (like a New Years resolution) that I’ll achieve some far-off goal, I’ve shifted my perspective and simply promise myself to do one thing at a time. Just one simple action which moves me to the next action and the next to achieve the result I desire and keep the promise I made to myself. Simple, slow, focused and all small acts.
Continual actions form habits, good or bad, and become grooved into our brain and life. So it follows, those same habits become our life and lead to results (either what we want or what we don’t want). Consider a daily habit you no longer even think about, something like brushing your teeth. You don’t consciously debate whether or not you “feel like it”, “it doesn’t do any good anyway”, or all those other excuses you tell yourself instead of simply doing the task. That habit is simply a part of your life.
Self-care is a promise we make to ourselves, one essential for our well-being. So, we must make it a daily habit in our life based on that promise.
A Self-Care Exercise
Here’s an exercise to keep a promise to yourself–a promise of supreme self-care. Make a promise to be kind to yourself every single day. This promise requires you do something nice for yourself each day. It needs to be something that delights you, lifts your spirits, soothes your soul, or nurtures your body. (For example, it could be a luxurious bubble bath or something as simple as going to bed earlier to get enough sleep.) Such simple acts of kindness, self care and gentleness will do more to lift your spirit than you can imagine…plus its a great way to practice keeping promises to yourself.
Share your new self-care habit with our blogging community, or how you keep promises made to yourself.
Share how this exercise has worked for you to inspire others.
Watch our video about personal rituals, and share yours with us in the comments below.
Join us as we discuss the difference between rituals and habits.