Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Keeping Promises to Yourself

I stepped out of my car today into the 50 degree weather where I parked across the street from the city lake where I often run. It's February and unusually cold for Florida, especially in the late afternoon. In addition to the unseasonably cold weather, it had been raining the entire day but now the pouring rain has now settled into a windy drizzle. Images of myself walking into the living room where I would settle on my couch and cover myself with a blanket while watching Wheel of Fortune and waiting for the tea kettle to whistle, kept running through my head. "Proof" back to reality. There is no hot tea waiting for me. All I have now is the rain, wind, and a promise.

Like most people, one of the things that I have decided to improve this year was my physical fitness. For most of last year I was in great shape. Year 28 of my life was filled with a comment to participate in races, maintain leafy green diet, and hours in the gym lifting weights. But so far this year I have relaxed my promises to myself. "I've been so busy lately, I better just grab some drive thru." and "It's January, the gym is going to be too packed." have been the excuses that I've sold myself.

But yesterday as I was finishing off the last of the Tiajuana Flats chicken Quesidia, I made a promise. "No more excuses." Tomorrow I start my previous health routine. If I would have looked at the weather forecast for today I probably would've delayed my promise until more favorable circumstances permit. But there I was, at the lake, in the windy rain scrolling through my iPod looking for some inspirational music wishing I had downloaded the theme to Rocky like I had intended to last year. I kept scrolling until I realized I was just stalling so I clicked on a playlist that I conveniently called "running music".

As I began my run, the idea of hot tea became more and more appealing. As I looked out over the lake I noticed something very strange. There was nobody else at the lake, anywhere. Usually this time of day would cause me to swerve around elderly power walkers, slow joggers, and baby strollers. But today I was in solitude. Sure it was cold but it wasn't freezing. Yeah it was wet but the rain had become a light drizzle.

It dawned on me that there must have been someone else, somewhere, today that told themselves that the were going to walk or run around this very lake that I was currently making my way around. But here I was, all alone.

We make promises to ourselves all of the time that we never keep. New Year's resolutions are a prime example of that. I realized at that moment how important it is not to break promises to yourself. The moment we tell ourselves we are going to do something (like start exercising, getting a better job, or anything else we want to do that will improve our lives) and we back out of our promises to ourselves due to obstacles, we make it easier to give up when thing get tough.

The key to achieving any goal that you set forth is to commit to doing what is necessary to achieve that goal. Once you allow yourself to back out of a commitment that you make to yourself, you will be more likely to do repeat that habit of retracting. No matter how tough the task or the amount of obstacles that you may encounter, you must do everything possible to keep any commitment you make to yourself.

2 comments:

Ryan said...

Hi Ralph,

Thanks for your insight :)

The best way to stick to a promise is to etch it into your mind. One method is to write it down on a piece of paper. This makes it concrete.

You may also keep visual reminders of your goal around. Keep a spare key around if you'd like a new house or car.

Affirmations are another powerful avenue to achieving your goals. Always use the present tense. "I am" or "I have statements" wield the most power since the law of attraction responds to your innermost thoughts and feelings. Since you can't think a thought in the future you may as well take possession of your goal now.

On a side note, I am going out for my run now. It's in the 50's and rainy here in NJ. But since I am alive and breathing it is a perfect day :)

Ryan

Me said...

Thanks Ryan. I believe in keeping visual reminders also. Its like product placing an idea in your head the way advertisers do in movies. A person is more likely to remember their goal if they are constantly seeing it.