How often do you say you are going to do something but don’t follow through? Maybe you say you are going to get up early, study harder for a test, help out around the house, start running or exercise more, call someone, eat better, etc. But then when the alarm goes off, or it’s time to study, or you think about putting on your running shoes, you don’t.
There is a battle between you and your mind. It tries hard to convince you why now isn’t a good time. Why it’s ok that you should wait until later. Why something else is more important. It makes you feel justified in breaking your promise, even though you know better. So you let yourself off the hook.
But here’s the rub. Self-confidence comes from trusting yourself and believing you will do what you say.
If you have a habit of sabotaging the promises you make to yourself and others, then deep down you know you can’t be trusted. You know that you will give up easily. And you know that your word is not worth much. For all these reasons your self-esteem will suffer. No amount of positive self-talk will change how you feel deep down until you change your habits and prove to yourself that you can be counted on no matter what. That no excuse is good enough to break a promise you’ve made.
So let’s change these habits. Let’s make different choices so we can feel great about who we are, and take a new sense of confidence into all that we do.
When you want to change a habit, it is best to start small and have an immediate success. This is not a time to be over zealous. Pick one thing you are going to commit 100% to. It doesn’t matter what it is. It only matters that you keep your promise to yourself and rebuild your own trust.
Decide now what it is and that you will follow through no matter what. If you decide you are going to get up early, pick a time, set your alarm clock and then tomorrow morning get up at that time, no matter what. No excuses. Ignore that part of you that wants to sleep in. You are testing yourself. The part of you that doesn’t trust you yet is saying, “Oh yeah? We don’t believe you. We think you’ll fail. Prove it to us.”
After your first success, start keeping score. On a planner or journal, log of your track record. Go for a week, then a month, then a year. If you fail, figure out what excuse you used, why you sabotaged yourself, then start again.
Realize there is a part of you that is hurting because you haven’t kept your word in the past. Like a little child, they are pouting. Deep down they want you to succeed but they are afraid you will let them down again. Don’t let them or you down!
Keeping your promises is how you create confidence. If you say you are going to do something, do it 100% of the time. If you are not sure if you can, then don’t make the promise. It’s that simple – although it is very hard. And doing the hard things is precisely what lets you believe in you. This is the stuff that builds inner strength and how exciting is that?
Let us know in the comments what promise you made to yourself. Mine is getting up on time!
(This article appears in the Girls Unbored blog. Girls Unbored is an after-school program designed to help girls become strong, independent, confident and happy women through outdoor adventure and experiential learning.)