Do you find it easy to keep your promises when it involves others but struggle if it’s solely about you?
For example, you would never miss appointments with other people, no matter what. But you easily put off journaling, meditation, or exercise because no one is holding you accountable.
Here’s the thing.
You train your mind to believe you aren’t a priority if you form a habit of breaking your commitment to yourself.
While having an accountability partner is great, you must learn to stick to your commitments, even when others aren’t involved.
To help you with this, I’ll explain how to develop your self-commitment muscle and share a handful of commitments that can help you succeed in life.
But first, let’s consider the meaning of creating a commitment to yourself.
What Does Self-Commitment Mean?
Self-commitment is staying true to what you say you will do for yourself. It is setting your own standards in various areas of your life and living up to them, no matter what.
Your commitment could be waking up earlier, exercising regularly, eating healthier, or standing up for yourself. No one will do these things for you; that’s why it is called self-commitment.
Think of it as a solemn promise to your future self.
Here’s what that means.
You must have a clear vision of where you want to be in the future; otherwise, there will be nothing to look forward to, and you will lack the drive to follow through on your promise.
Without knowing what and why you should make a commitment, breaking your promise to yourself is easy, especially when obstacles show up along the way.
In a nutshell, creating a commitment to yourself is prioritizing yourself.
I know this may run contrary to some long-held beliefs and raise a few questions, such as:
- Isn’t it selfish to prioritize yourself?
- Shouldn’t you put others’ needs first?
- How can you be selfless and prioritize yourself at the same time?
These are valid concerns, but you must work on becoming a better version of yourself before attempting to help others, or else you won’t be of much help to them.
You might be struggling with self-limiting beliefs if you find it difficult to make yourself your number one priority.
It is okay to go after your goals, dreams, and aspiration, provided you’re not doing so at the expense of others. Sticking to your commitment to becoming better is definitely okay; it is self-love at its best. It shows that you value and honor your promise to yourself and will do everything possible (within reason) to uphold your word.
How to Grow Your Self-Commitment Muscle
It is one thing to create a commitment to yourself; sticking to the promises you made to yourself is a different kettle of fish.
Like muscles, it takes consistent practice to strengthen self-commitment. You will not stick to your commitments just because you included them in your New Year’s resolution.
In fact, research shows that many people don’t stick to their New Year’s resolutions beyond the first few months. In other words, there’s really no need to wait for a special occasion to create a commitment to yourself.
You don’t have to be dramatic about it, either. Baby steps are the way to go when it comes to sticking to your self-commitment.
Here are my top recommendations for developing your self-commitment muscle so you can keep the promises you made to yourself.
Be Emotionally Connected to Your Desired Results
First, commitments have little to no meaning if they are not linked to strong desires. How bad do you want something? Why do you want to achieve a goal?
If you want to exercise five days weekly, ask yourself why doing so is important to you. Perhaps you want to achieve a beach body or improve your overall health and fitness.
Whatever the reason, you must be emotionally invested in the result. This will help you pull through, especially when your motivation wanes.
Identify What You Must Do to Get What You Want
You’ll get tired easily if you spread yourself too thin with many promises. As I mentioned earlier, it is not necessary to be dramatic when making a commitment to yourself.
Like setting yearly or monthly goals, be specific about what you want and identify only the key actions required to produce optimal results. This way, you won’t overwhelm yourself with unnecessary promises.
Treat Your Commitments as Sacred
You don’t have to be religiously inclined to view your commitments to yourself as sacred. This is perhaps the most important tip if you want to stop treating your commitments as if they don’t matter.
Usually, most people who struggle to follow through on their commitments regard their promises as something they can push back without consequences. This leads to habitually putting themselves low on their list of priorities.
When you consider your commitments sacrosanct, you won’t let yourself off the hook easily when you break a promise to yourself.
Be Prepared to Sacrifice
Understand that true commitment has a cost. There will be times when you will have to choose between temporary pleasure and the promises you made to yourself. You may have to give up what’s comfortable if you must stick to your commitment.
The good news is that sacrificing temporary comfort often leads to better, long-lasting outcomes.
Take Action Against All Odds
Like going to the gym, it takes deliberate effort to focus on your commitments. Sometimes, taking the easy way out will sound very appealing, but you must push through all discouraging thoughts and feelings to keep your promises.
You gain more momentum each time you take action, especially when you don’t feel like it. Also, you build more confidence in your ability and increase your discipline when you act despite all odds.
5 Self-Commitments to Help You Succeed
1. Take Frequent Action
Repetition is crucial if you must develop discipline and stay true to your commitment. Whatever promise you make to yourself, commit to working on it daily or as often as possible.
For example, the more times you choose nutritious food (and ignore junk food), the more consistent you will become when it comes to eating healthily.
If you take action only when it is convenient, it will be difficult to create positive changes in your life. Instead, you will most likely continue to struggle with the old, unhelpful habits you are trying to give up.
2. Never Give Up on Your Dreams
Commit to going after your dreams, no matter how impossible they may sound to others. You will fall flat on your face many times on your way to becoming successful, but that’s not enough reason to give up on yourself.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Remember that mistakes show that you are trying, making an effort, and learning.
3. Continuous Learning
Promise yourself never to stop learning. In the words of Albert Einstein, “When you stop learning, you start dying.”
Continue to reinvent yourself; this means embracing change, letting go of what no longer serves you, and making room for better things.
You become more adaptable when you open your mind, and it’s easy to identify opportunities in that mindset.
4. Do Things the Right Way
Commit to doing things the right way, even when nearly everyone is cutting corners. This is, perhaps, one of the most difficult promises to keep, but truly successful people take the stairs to the top, not the elevator.
Success in whatever you do isn’t merely about the results you get but who you become in the process.
For example, it is always better to be honest and fail an exam than to pass by cheating. Remember that staying true to yourself isn’t about external praises and acknowledgments. Instead, it is about character development and becoming your best version.
5. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Sticking to your commitment requires unflinching dedication and resoluteness. However, it isn’t necessarily a white-knuckle experience ― you don’t have to work yourself to death just to prove your commitment.
In fact, one of the best things you can do for your health and overall well-being is to honor your work-life balance. It is the ultimate self-care practice.
Focus on work when it is time for work, and rest when it is time to rest. Avoid bringing work home (even if you work from home), and don’t play or socialize when you should be working. Don’t mix the two!
This goes hand-in-hand with what I pointed out earlier: don’t overwhelm yourself with too many promises, or you will end up overworking.
Creating a commitment to yourself and sticking to it may not be the easiest thing to do.
No matter how well-prepared you think you are, you will definitely be tempted to put off certain things sometimes, and you will give in ― that’s a given!
However, with consistent practice and patience, you will get better over time.