A Goal Is A Promise To Yourself

I grew up in self-help culture: My dad was a management consultant who spoke at seminars on various improvement topics, my mother and grandmother read M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled and Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking. We listened to tapes with titles like “Success Comes In Cans, Not in Cannots!” They gave me books such as The Little Engine That Could and told me I could be anything I want to be.

So I was pretty pumped as a kid, ready to take on the world! But there was something missing in my preparation for creating a life for myself. I sort of got a feeling for this missing piece along the way but didn’t learn it explicitly until I became a coach 30 years later.

A goal is a commitment. When you set a goal, you are making a promise to yourself – and your ability to keep your promise will determine your success.

How confident are YOU that you will keep the next commitment you make to yourself?

The Tension of Imbalance

Up until now, how likely have you been to meet those dates you declared to yourself to accomplish the things you really wanted – To run a marathon, finish those thank you notes, learn a song on guitar, reach out to your former coworker about opportunities in her new company?

Dr. Maria Nemeth, founder of ACE Academy for Coaching Excellence, explains it like this: “A promise is your word that you will take action in physical reality. It says: ‘I guarantee this will be done.’” And when you make a promise to do something, an energy imbalance is created. This imbalance is experienced by yourself – and by the other person if you have promised something to them – as tension that is only resolved by you doing what you said you would.

Maria points out that “Unfulfilled promises are energy drains because we expend more energy keeping a gap open than we do when we resolve it. You become physically, emotionally, and spiritually tired.”

Like myself when I heard this, on some level you may already know it. Maybe you can think of a time in your life where you said you would do something then didn’t get to it… like donate to your friend’s cause or stop by your Aunt’s to help her with something. Yes, you could rationalize not getting to those things, but if you look at the energy it took to rationalize and the discomfort of the situation – at a certain point isn’t it just easier to do the thing?

Success Breeds Success

You might also think of a time when you completed something you said you would and how great it felt! Like a shot of adrenaline, an energy surge, you may have felt ready to take on the next thing right away.

This is where the power is for our forward movement in life. When we successfully do what we said we would, we gain confidence in ourselves and conviction in our promises to ourselves.

As we continue to keep our word to ourselves and continue experiencing the energy surges of success, we are able to accomplish and create more and more in our lives!

My dad brought me one of these promotional cans from a Joel Weldon seminar in the 1980’s.

Make Your Next Promise Achievable

If you knew that if you did what you said you’d do, you would be more likely to create a life you would love to be living… would you approach setting goals differently?

Make your next promised action toward your goal a small one – the smallest one you can! Set a date by which you will have it done and experience the energy of keeping your promise. This is the energy of success! Then do it again.

Yes, you can! 🙂

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