Keeping Inner Promises

Photo by discoodoni

This post was inspired by a recent Get It Done Guy podcast on procrastination, found here.

We all know how important it is to keep promises we have made. By keeping our word, we:

  • Build trust that we will do what we say
  • Let the other person know they are as important to us as other people and activities
  • Focus our attention on what we say and do and on the person who is promised

Many of us make a point to not promise if we cannot deliver; and we take pride in our ability to carry through on our promises.

But do we hold ourselves to the same standard when making promises to ourselves?

I will not give my daughter a promise unless I am sure it will happen. I am very careful not to erode the trust she has in me.

Yet, I will nag myself into starting a task, telling myself that I can stop after 10 minutes….and then force myself to keep going after the promised time. Is it any wonder that I have stronger resistance the next time? I don’t trust myself to keep my word to myself.

What are some of the areas we may break promises to ourselves?

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Changing habits
  • Procrastination
  • The snooze button
  • The list goes on…

What promises do you make to yourself that you regularly don’t keep? What are the consequences to yourself? Share below.

Photo by discoodoni



  1. says

    My biggest struggle is using my time efficiently. I’m in a constant struggle to keep from getting distracted by the internet. Basic fitness is *mostly* not an issue because I make that a social thing, but boring bits like pushups to maintain some semblance of upper body strength always fall by the wayside unless I’m forcing myself to maintain a certain daily average (I count the pushups with an app on my phone — I put the phone on the floor and it increments a counter each time I touch my nose to it).

    As to consequences, I take this to what some would call a ridiculous extreme. Namely, cash commitment contracts. That’s right, I force myself to keep my self-promises under threat of monetary penalties.

    It can be hard to set up a commitment device that your impetuous future self can’t weasel out of. (That version of yourself that really wants to postpone your workout “one more day” is just as crafty as the well-intentioned version of yourself that tried to ensure the workout would happen.)

    But if you can do it — and there websites to help, like StickK and (ulterior motive alert) Beeminder — it’s astounding how effective it is.

    Danny of Beeminder