Do you keep the commitments you make to yourself? So often we tell ourselves we want to do something and then we spend all our time doing things for other people, while forgetting to keep the commitments that we make to ourselves. Why is it that we are willing to follow through with what we say we will do for other people, but not for ourselves?
Whether it’s work related, family related, friend related, or even a commitment to show up somewhere and volunteer, you are likely motivated to follow through because someone else is depending on you. Maybe you don’t want to let someone down, or maybe you are motivated to get something done because you don’t want negative repercussions that could result if you did not follow through with your commitment. Maybe you have been doing this so long, that it has become a habit and that anytime you make a commitment to someone else, the only option for you is to follow through with it.
The act of following through with things is both about habit and mindset. Something becomes a habit because you have been doing it for so long, you don’t really need to think about it anymore. Mindset is about doing it because it is important, it will help someone, or it is the “right” thing to do.
If you keep telling yourself you want to do something (eat healthier, exercise more, read more, get your finances in order, look for a new job, communicate better in your relationship, finish a project, organize your home, spend more undistracted time with your children, etc.), and then you don’t follow through with it, you are creating a habit of not following through with your commitments to yourself. You have created a behavior pattern where follow through is not expected, at least in some instance. In addition, you are unconsciously telling yourself that what you say you want is not as important as the things other people say they want. Essentially, you are giving yourself an out without even recognizing it because you have set your expectations for follow through very low.
When this happens over time, you are consciously telling yourself that you are making a commitment to do something, but your unconscious mind remembers all the other times you did not follow through, so it is sending the message that you don’t need to actually do the thing you said you were going to do. This is especially true if what you are trying to do will require some effort and/or discomfort. Your brain wants you to stay with what is familiar and comfortable and therefore it will always try to talk you out of going outside your comfort zone. When you pair doing something challenging or uncomfortable with the habit of not keeping commitments to yourself, you could find yourself in a situation where you just keep pushing things off, or in a situation where you keep starting, stopping, and starting over again.
𝐈𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐛𝐞𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞, 𝐭𝐫𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 5 𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐩𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐰.
By doing this process over and over, you will retrain your brain. You will start to see the positive impact of following through with the things you say you will do, and it will become more natural. The more consistent you are, the faster you will see results.
In addition to implementing this process, you may consider examining if you have any faulty thinking patterns that are holding you back. If you want to learn more about 5 common thoughts distortions, you can grab my free guide, 5 Common Thought Distortions, HERE. In this guide I cover 5 common thought distortions including Filtering, Overgeneralizations, Black and White Thinking, Catastrophizing, and Mind Reading. I walk you through how your brain works, why these thought distortions occur, and specific strategies you can use for each to change them. You can grab it HERE.