Healthy by Choice. Healthy by Habit.

The Power of your Promise

The Power of your Promise

Have you ever sabotaged yourself by making a promise?

I have done it more often than I'd like to admit. The latest promise has sabotaged my health plan once more. I have weekly exercise goals and too often it's these goals that sacrificed for promises.  Too often I fail myself in fulfilling my exercise routine. 

My fitness goals include walking 2 km daily, cycling 3 times a week and doing yoga 3 times a week. In reality, I barely manage half of my commitment. So what happens?

I make a promise. A promise that on the surface looks doable. And that is the hidden thorn of promises that we make involving the future. 

We believe that the future has more time available each day than the reality of our present. We all do it. Commit to something in the future underestimating the time needed to carry it out.

We think our future promise will be carried out with ease because we assume that we are not going to be as busy as we are in the present. On top of that, we often over estimate our abilities.

That’s what happens to me. Mentally I have my exercise routine down and have organized my work schedule pretty well...but I don't schedule the unexpected..and the unexpected happens every single week.  You know those things that kind of spring up during the week, those things that you have never planned for. And this is the kicker, those unexpected things that overflow in our week are things that we often think are just happening in the present. We always think that once we get this unplanned 'thing' done we'll be organized. But the truth is if you are busy now you are going to be just as busy in the future. Busy people are always busy.

Like most people, I believe that my near future is going to work out the way I'm planning it. So making a promise is easy, on paper, it looks like I have time. But I don't make any plans that include those unexpected things.  

My latest promise was to create a new class for a presentation that would be happening in the future.  I had a time slot that worked for the presentation and estimated 10  hours to do the research and create the power point.

As the date loomed closer multiple challenges kept appearing and my time kept disappearing, I was becoming more frantic as the presentation date drew nearer. Becoming ever-more time-crunched my exercise routine ended up falling away so that I could keep my promise. 

At the time of my promise, I didn’t know it was going to take me 40 hours of research and preparation. This is a common pitfall, promises rarely hold details. It's the warm and fuzzy feeling we get when we make a promise to someone that makes us feel good at in the moment. We’re not thinking of all of the details that a promise entails.

A good example of this is being at a meeting or social event and when the call goes out to volunteer. Your hand (my hand) shoots up like a rocket. It's the feel-good feeling of being acknowledged and appreciated in the moment. This is my mistake. I had my eye on making the presentation and pleasing the person I was making the promise to. I didn’t give any consideration to all of the details and planning.

Going forward I intend to look at the time details before I commit to anything. Before my hand rockets into the air to promise away my future I'm going to sit on it and actually calculate in hours how long that commitment will take to fill and where are those hours coming from. What am I going to have to give up in order to follow through?

I’m also going to figure out other ways of getting that feel-good feeling that drives me so hard.

I’m going to ponder rewards for living a balanced life…something I have never done.



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