A promise to me 3/52

January 16, 2022

You're stronger than you know  

Week 3: Making a promise to myself

Why don't we follow through for ourselves? If I promise a friend that I will be there, I show up, yet often with my own goals I let myself down, as if a promise to myself does not hold as much meaning? Over time this pattern of not following through makes us skeptics of our own ability prompting us to give up before we begin.

As I decided to implement new habits, I began to understand that for change to occur I need to be clear on when I would follow through with each action. It took trial and error and many challenges with baby steps for me to rebuild the confidence in my ability to finish what I began. Sometimes in that process I need to narrow down a few areas of focus.

By starting with one task that you do every day, for example, drinking a glass of water right after you wake up.  You find ways to make reaching that goal easy. Sometimes speaking out loud, "I will not leave this house or sit down until I drink at least 8 ounces of water," makes the habit more concrete. Or having the glass next to your toothbrush to trigger that habit. I recently read that the human body has about eleven million sensory receptors. Approximately ten million of those are dedicated to sight. (Atomic Habits)

Maybe you want to exercise more this year. Set a goal for 5 or 10 minutes a day. Making it easy helps you get started and that is the point. You want it to be something you will follow through with to continue building that trust with yourself. Soon drinking that glass of water occurs several times a day or the length of your workout increases.

Many times our transformation creates new habits. I had never contemplated becoming a runner, but over time, by walking on a treadmill I looked for ways to change my workout, walking faster, to a slow jog and eventually running my first mile. All this from deciding to exercise more after quitting smoking. 

When I begin a new habit, I try to stack with a current habit, like once I get my first cup of coffee, I sit down to meditate. Creating a morning and/or evening routine that fits your schedule best. Sometimes a 30-day challenge with a friend brings with it the motivation for change. The point is to create a plan that works for you, then mark it off your calendar or check in with a workout buddy. Once you start to feel momentum, you will keep going.

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