In this article I will tell you about how to set yourself promises and how to achieve their fulfillment.
I always use the power of promises made to myself. It helps me work despite laziness, go in for sports despite my body resistance, not to put away my affairs for later and implement my plans.
It is impossible to get rid of laziness and resistance completely. Laziness is almost a primitive instinct, which will always be with us. One must learn to be stronger than it! The power of promises helps me with it.
There are a lot of sources, which reveal the importance of setting yourself goals. But I prefer to use the “promise” formulation instead of “goal”, because I think it is easier to hold to a promise, than to follow the goal.
How does it work?
Let me give you an example.
If I think: “tonight, I think I’ll go jogging,” then, by the evening, my desire to run can work itself out. In the morning I am full of energy, but, by the end of the day, everything can change.
And when this time comes, I can think this way: “I’m tired, I want to lie down in bed, therefore I will go nowhere.”
But if I say to myself: “today I will run exactly one hour, I promise it to myself and I will keep my promise,” then the task performance becomes almost a matter of honor for me. I am eager to fulfill my promise, by all means. Of course, if it rains all of a sudden, then I will not run today, I will go running tomorrow instead.
Promises allow you to eliminate all the possible excuses that can occur.
At first, I often broke the promises made to myself, but then I got used to fulfill them. Later on, I will tell you, what you should do to create such a habit.
Replace “I should” with “I promise”!
If you need to do something (to wash the dishes, to find the needed information on the Internet, to do your job) – give yourself a promise to do it.
Ponder over your intentions, do not say to yourself: “tomorrow I will try to smoke less,” or, even worse, “I should smoke less.” Give yourself a clear set: “tomorrow I will PRECISELY smoke no more than 5 cigarettes. I promise!”
There is nothing worse than this senseless “I should”! It does not encourage you to take some action. It simply says about some ideal event in the abstract future.
Every time when similar thoughts beginning with “I should” come into your head, immediately change then into promises!
Change any intention into promise. Mentally say to yourself clearly: “I promise myself not to eat something sweet after dinner today,” “I promise to call my father today,” “I promise to work not less than 4 hours today,” “I promise to get up early tomorrow,” “I promise to go jogging at least once a week,” “I promise to go to the doctor,” etc.
When I trained myself to say “I promise” instead of “maybe” or “should”, my power of self-discipline has sharply increased.
I managed to do a lot of things, which I have long postponed indefinitely. For me it became easier to control my weaknesses. I began to spend more time for going in for sports and improving myself, and spend less time for sitting in front of the computer. I started managing to do more work, than I used to do earlier.
Find any reason to give yourself a promise
Daily think of some challenges well within your powers. This will strengthen your willpower; will make you more responsible and obliging.
Did you find out that you spend too much money? Promise yourself to spend no more than the certain amount next month!
When you looked at yourself in the mirror, you found out that you have piled on the weight? Promise yourself to go to the gym at least 2 times a week and to eat in fast food institutions no more than once a month.
Do not promise yourself the impossible things. No need to try to do things that are hard for you. If you have habits of which you cannot get rid, then at least limit them. For example, if you realize that you spend a lot of time on social networks, then, promise yourself to visit Facebook no more than twice a day.
Clearly define the problems, which you set for yourself
The promises should be as specific as possible. You should clearly utter the execution terms and conditions. When two companies conclude a contract, they state all the possible terms of the contract, so that none of the parties shall be able to violate the business requirements, stated in the document. You cannot simply tell your business partner: “bring me the parts in a month.”
You should describe the number of parts, delivery time, items’ names, the carrier, etc.
Imagine that you conclude a contract with yourself. All you have to do – is to state the terms and conditions.
Set yourself specific goals by prescribing all the terms in the “contract”. For example, you try to eat something sweet less often, because it is harmful and causes problems with the excess weight.
But you did not think about how rarely you should eat sweets.
You simply decided that you should do it less often. As a result, on Monday you can eat a piece of cake in the morning and in the evening, on Tuesday you can devour three chocolates.
In this case, no rule regulates how much sweets you should eat. Therefore, you run the risk of not getting rid of the excess weight problems.
Therefore, define a promise as specific as possible: not more than one sweet per day (or per two days, or per week). Suppose that you can deviate from the promise conditions only in case of a celebration, when you are treated to cake.
But, again, you should not eat more than the certain amount. Utter these conditions in advance. Conclude a mental contract with yourself. And no matter what might come to your mind, keep the promises. Protect yourself from all the possible excuses. The contract is already concluded, all the conditions are stated and you cannot break it.
How to cope with the duality of choice
In any situation of duality, when you choose between two solutions, one of which reflects your will and desire to develop and your diligence, and the other one is the reflection of your laziness and procrastination, try to choose the first one, without thinking too much.
For example, you start thinking: “shall I go running today or not?” If you start adducing arguments pros and cons, then, chances are that your primitive self will win. If you think long, you will always find arguments against running in order to stay at home, watch TV and eat cake.
When you start debating with yourself whether to do what your mind tells you, or to do what your laziness tells you, – you are taking the first step towards surrendering in front of laziness. As if you tell it: “I would run today, but let’s hear your point of view, my lazy self, maybe you have your own considerations on this matter.”
If you say so to yourself, you are obviously doomed to failure. A person tends to follow the path of least resistance and he will instinctively strain after the solution, which points to the path.
Therefore, in situations of ambiguity, the first question you should ask yourself is: “what’s the right thing to do?” When I say “right”, I mean “right” concerning the considerations of common sense, happiness, intelligence, personality development and care of yourself and your friends and family.
Not to eat in fast food institutions – right. To lead a healthy lifestyle – right. To help your friends and family – right. Not to worry over trifles – right.
All these mean “right” without any excuses. I think that everyone knows this “right” and he will find no difficulty in understanding what solution between two is more “right”.
Once you determine what is right and what is not, – for example, going running today is right (because it is useful, and you promised yourself to go running twice a week), but staying at home and watch TV is wrong, – immediately give yourself a promise to do what is right.
It will help you not to get involved in disputes with your laziness, in which it, more likely, will win. You will give yourself a clear promise, which will meet the common sense, and you will rid you of the meaningless minutes of fruitless thoughts. Judging by my experience, it unloads your brain very strongly.
Everyone knows situations, when he is unable to choose one solution between two presented. “What should I do: should I go at the end of the working week to a noisy party and get drunk there, or should I spend the evening at home, in silence, giving my head a rest, devoting time to my friends and family?”
Thinking about this choice can absorb your brain. You will not come to the right decision, if you think about the things you want at the moment. Maybe, right now, you want to go to the party.
If we want something, it does not mean that this is really something we need. Do not be guided only by your “Iwanna” in decision making.
Tomorrow morning you will be more pleased to wake up without a hangover, fresh and rested. In this case, you will not regret about spending the time at home and you will realize that you made the right choice.
To facilitate the decision making process, simply think about the things that would be right, not about the things you want at the moment most of all.
Say to yourself: “it is right to go home, which I am going to do. Stop thinking about it! I made my choice and I will not regret about the missed opportunities. Now I might feel some regret, but tomorrow I will know that I have made the wise choice.”
At the moment, you will fell some relief! You should conduct this tiresome dispute between your mind and your primitive self no longer! You can think about something else. Now your mind is free!
You may think that if you always follow this rule in decision making, then, by that, you will put forward very high demands towards yourself. And you will be unable to satisfy these demands. It is impossible to do the right thing all the time; sometimes you have to find compromises. And I totally agree with it.
If you use this rule only in case of a difficult choice, when you initially choose between the right and wrong actions, then your life will improve, your desires will be fulfilled and it will require you no great dedication. Let me give you another example.
For example, you are going to visit your friend’s birthday party. And you think about how to get there – by your own car and thus have no drink at the party, or by walking and get drunk at the party. Without long thinking, choose the first option. And promise yourself not to hit the bottle.
This rule does not make you do some great and unmanageable effort of will. It simply helps you stop your ears, when your primitive self starts talking to you.
You might have seen in cartoons how the characters of a little angel and a little devil appear on different shoulders. You’d better not strike them together. Simply close the ear, in which the devil whispers. No need to listen to him…
Do not make promises, which you cannot fulfill!
In order to have your promises fulfilled, do not set yourself too difficult tasks. Remember my motto: “Start small”. If you have never gone in for sports and you want to overpower yourself and start doing this, then start with light exercises in the morning. No need to make yourself perform some marathon records.
In this case, you will be unable to keep your promises and you will berate yourself for this. Set yourself doable goals.
Do not force yourself. Take time to relax. If you realize that you are unable to fulfill any promise, then, facilitates its conditions.
Some people find going in for sports every day easy, while for others a 10-minute jogging might become a big strong-willed challenge.
Therefore, choose targets well within your powers.
Prefer the long-term promises to the short-term one
State your promises on a regular basis, create a long-term plan, and do not be limited to some single promises. Instead of promising yourself to drink no more than once a week only this week, set yourself a plan to drink no more than once a week starting from that day.
Gradually increase the complexity of the promise conditions: drink no more than once a month or promise yourself not to drink at all.
Mark the fulfillment of promises
Carry about a piece of paper or electronic medium, where you will write down all the promises made to yourself. When you fulfill something – mark off. Personally I like to mark the fulfilled plans in my electronic diary. When I mark off the completed tasks, I feel a small victory. “Another settled case” – I think.
Do not blame yourself, if you are unable to keep your promises
Perhaps, you will be unable to do well everything at once. No need to reproach yourself with this, to give up and to think that you are an absolutely weak-willed person. I will tell you at once that fulfilling the promises made to yourself – is difficult. I learned it not at once.
If it were possible to assign a level of complexity to all my recommendations, I would not be able to classify this post to the light ones (posts). However, this is not the reason for missing the opportunity to use these tips by anyone.
You might need some little-developed skills of your willpower in order to fulfill the promises.
I will say it again, start with easy promises. No need to leave your comfort zone sharply.
It is important not to let the promises, to do or not to do something in the future, become an excuse for being carried away by momentary weaknesses in the present.
This post does not aim at teaching you how to fulfill the set tasks only. I want you to learn, first of all, how to set these tasks.
Thus, you will be able to pass from non-obligatoriness and uncertainty to honesty and certainty.
What is most important is that you have developed a habit instead of vague intentions to state clear and definite promises, to replace “I should” with “I promise” or “I will”. And then your level of self-discipline will increase!
I wish you good luck! Set yourself goals and follow them!