Learn how to use self integrity to keep promises to yourself.
Hey there Beautiful!
I have always thought that I am a very honest person with strong moral principles.
Integrity is one of my values.
It is a part of my being and who I am.
If I say that I am going to finish a project at work, it will be completed by the deadline, if not before, and even better than expected.
I take pride in my accomplishments that everyone can see. But I realized that while I easily show my integrity to the outside world, I do not live in integrity with myself.
When I say that I am going to do something, like go to the gym three times a week, and I only attend once, I am lacking in self integrity.
I do not keep my word to the most important person in my life: ME.
I began to analyze what promises that I made to myself and failed to keep each day. I then made a list of the promises that I wanted to keep and figured out a way to make them easier to accomplish.
If I can’t keep my word to myself then many things will not get done.
Imagine how much more I would accomplish if I kept my word to myself.
I had to break a pattern to move forward and get a different result.
I could see a pattern that silently developed over time unbeknownst to me when I failed to keep my word to myself.
The cycle involved: If I don’t keep my word, then guilt and the negative voice in my head are going to tell me I failed; why should I even try to do this, it’s hard; yeah I got this; come on, give it another try; and lastly, making the same promise again but not modifying the mechanics of how it would be achieved.
The result will be exactly the same.
I didn't want to keep breaking promises to myself.
I knew this was going to be hard.
The only person to know if I kept my word would be me.
It would be so easy to brush off the promises to myself since no one else would be there to keep me accountable. The internal dialogue in my head would have to be kept in check.
Procrastination is my fear taking over to keep me safe from the task at hand. Whether or not the perceived fear is real or not, my body’s instinct to keep it safe would have to be tackled and overcome.
I wanted to lean into the fear since once I got past it, I knew the other side would have success.
To live in self-integrity I knew I had use what worked for me.
I analyzed how I was making promises to myself and why I was not keeping them.
I enjoy having a schedule and knew that if it’s not scheduled, it doesn’t happen. Now I am not so scheduled that I can’t bend the rules and spontaneously change things up.
But I knew that if I wanted to keep promises to myself, I would need to have them written in my calendar or reminders on my phone to keep me on task.
I started with small, simple, and attainable goals.
I wanted to drink four water bottles per day, go to the gym two nights per week, and leave for work on-time in the morning.
So I set up reminders on my phone that would go off four times a day, every day, to fill up my water bottle. I blocked off Tuesday and Thursday nights from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM to go to the gym in my calendar.
And I also set a reminder to go off Monday-Friday at 7:45 AM to indicate that I better be in the bathroom doing my hair and makeup if I wanted to make it to work on-time by 8:30 AM.
Tasks, reminders, and my calendar would keep me in line!
The reminders to refill my water bottle worked so well!
They would pop up on my phone and I would look at what was left in my water bottle to see how much I had left to drink. If I still needed to drink a bit more, then I would try and finish it up in the next 10-15 minutes. I would not complete the refill water task on my phone until I had gotten up and refilled the water bottle.
On the weekends it was a bit harder since I had more items on my list to complete, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, doing the laundry, and I wasn’t stuck behind a desk.
But the reminders kept me in line and I did a great job keeping that promise.
Making excuses to not keep a promise to myself would only make it worse.
Going to the gym every Tuesday and Thursday was a bit more difficult.
My husband would occasionally go with me and on those days it was way easier to keep my promise since there was someone coming with me to help me be accountable.
On the days that he did not go with me, I had to motivate myself to go.
What I did notice was that since those times were blocked off in my calendar, if someone asked to go out to dinner, I would look at my calendar and see that time was already reserved for me.
The first few times I actually had to stop myself from scheduling something at the same time.
I had to self-talk my way out of scheduling a dinner with a friend and choose Wednesday or Friday instead.
My thought process went like this: “I’ll just tell her I’m busy. She doesn’t have to know why I’m busy. I am not going to tell her because she won’t think that is a good enough reason to avoid Thursday night. If I tell her that I have to do something for my son that is a better reason than going to the gym for myself. But that’s wrong.”
I stopped myself.
What a shift to realize that I think doing something for my son is a better excuse to be unavailable than actually telling her the truth.
So I did.
I told her I can’t go Tuesday or Thursday night because I will be at the gym.
And she texted back, “Okay cool.”
That was it.
I made it into a much bigger thing than it needed to be and in the few seconds my brain was processing what excuse should I give her when I text her back. After that, I avoided Tuesday and Thursday nights to schedule other events and I was really proud of myself.
Sometimes you have to learn to say no to doing one more thing.
Getting to work on-time proved to be the hardest and I know exactly why.
I always try and do one more thing in the morning before going to work because then I don’t have to do it when I get home.
At least that is my reasoning.
I have to make myself pay attention a bit more to the clock so that when the reminder goes off at 7:45 AM, I have to stop what I am doing and shift gears to finish getting ready for work.
It is definitely better and I don’t feel as rushed in the morning as I used to. Plus, I decided to make my lunch first thing in the morning after I get up, instead of trying to put it together after I eat breakfast.
Little changes have led to better mornings so I will keep working on keeping that promise to myself.
I can keep my promises to myself and live in self-integrity but it takes persistance and releasing guilt.
I definitely have a new clarity about myself.
I now know that I can keep my word and achieve self-integrity.
I am not perfect and there are days where I just can’t do all the items on my list that I promised myself I would accomplish.
And that’s okay.
I am still learning and adjusting.
Things unexpectedly come up and I can’t control that. I am now working on releasing the guilt that comes up with not fulfilling the promise to myself.
I try to reset, learn what was a challenge, and set up a new way to ensure success the next time.
The ABSOLUTE key to self-integrity is awareness.
I have to recognize when I am out of integrity with myself and figure out how to get back in alignment and keep my promises.
The purpose is to not maintain this perfect record because that is unrealistic.
I want to keep commitments to myself but know it’s okay to say no.
If I am not going to do something, then say no.
Don’t say that I am going to do it, and then not do it.
I am much more careful now in what promises I do make to myself. I have to believe in my own word to myself to then achieve even more that I thought possible.
It's easy to keep your word to others. It's harder to keep your word to yourself since the only person to keep you accountable is you.
How many times have you kept your word to other people?
It’s pretty easy, right?
You text your friend and ask her if she wants to meet you for coffee at 10 am on Saturday.
She quickly responds, “Absolutely!”
You add the appointment to your calendar on your phone since there’s no way you’re going to remember since the kids sucked out all of your memory brain cells out of you as they grew up. But you can still remember your home phone number from when you were ten years old. Go figure.
On Saturday morning, you leave your house in plenty of time, traffic is light, and out of the corner of your eye you see the reminder pop-up on your phone as you’re waiting at the stoplight to turn into the Starbucks parking lot. You turn in, park, and check your phone to see if you’re on time. 9:58 AM with two minutes to spare. You’ve kept your word.
That was simple right?
You invited her for coffee and you showed up at the agreed upon time.
But let me ask you this, how many times have you kept your word to yourself and showed up on time for something just for you?
How many times have you kept your word to yourself?
It’s harder to remember huh?
Are you even able to keep promises to the most important person in your life: YOU?
How do you define self integrity?
The best way to describe self integrity is by using the synonyms for integrity. They are ‘honor’ and ‘truthfulness’.
Are you honoring yourself and keeping your word when you promise to do something for just you?
Are you telling the truth to yourself when you promise to not excessively drink at your friend’s birthday party?
I had to change in order to live in self integrity.
Once I began to be aware of how many times I pushed promises to myself out of the way for other people I realized I needed to change. It’s easy to blame other people for interrupting what you have planned.
But if you don’t establish the boundaries and let everyone know where they are, guess what?
You are going to allow them to take over and not allow yourself to live with greater self-integrity.
Stop cancelling plans or activities that only involve you.
Can you live in self integrity?
I want you to take this week and notice how many times you make a promise to yourself and then break it.
Just being aware of when it happens is a huge step in the right direction.
Scheduling things in my calendar is the way I keep myself on track and keep my word, so maybe that will help you.
Don’t beat yourself up if you only notice that you break a promise only after the fact. Give yourself room to make mistakes and then learn from them.
Adjust how you could do better in the future and try again.
It doesn’t have to be perfect.
I’ll talk to you later beautiful!