How to Keep a Promise, to Yourself

You know that friend? That one friend that whenever you make plans with them you feel like it is a gamble. Maybe they will actually show up, or maybe they will cancel at the last minute. Again.

So if it bothers you when other people flake on you -- how about when you do it to yourself?

Imagine how many times you have told yourself that you are going to do something, and then you don’t do it. Or maybe you do it for a little bit, but then something changes, you get distracted, and you stop.

I’m not just talking about the things that people make promises about the most: eating healthfully, exercising more, practicing mindfulness, living with purpose. For most of us, that is just the beginning of making promises and taking vital steps to be truly committed to self-care.


Here are some other ways you might fail to keep those promises to yourself:


Three Ways You are Bailing on Yourself

  1. Not leaving an unhealthy situation. You hate your job. You fight constantly with your significant other. You talk to your friends a lot about how miserable you are and how you need to make a change. Whatever the specifics, you tell yourself that you are done, yet you don’t take the steps to leave.

  2. Not matching your actions with your values. For example, you want to be on Facebook less and read books more. You plan to go on more adventures and not just hang out in the comforting bubble of your everyday routine. You promise yourself you’ll be more positive and not obsess over everything that is wrong in the world, or in your life. You say that acting on all of these things are important to you, but then your follow through doesn’t match up.

  3. Not living up to your potential. You tell yourself that you want to be more open, emotionally and creatively. You want to take risks and just see what happens. You feel stifled in your comfort zone and know what steps you could take to get out of it. While you might save yourself from getting hurt or making mistakes, you also stop yourself from really seeing what life could be like if you were more fulfilled. Fear can be the most debilitating element, don’t let it take over.


When you keep breaking promises to yourself, you start to not trust yourself. Just like your friend who flakes too much. We show people that we love and care about them, the same applies to yourself. If you don’t leave unhealthy situations right away, don’t take actions based on your values, and don’t live up to your potential, you are not showing yourself that you actually care about you.

Self-care is something that people are talking about a lot these days which is an important conversation because I feel like self-care is the foundation of self-love and self-esteem. You feel resilient when you trust and believe in yourself and how strong you are. If you don’t have a solid relationship with yourself, then anxiety, depression, shame, or other life challenges can overwhelm you.

Being in long-term (I’m not saying “forever”, -- but more than 3 months) therapy can give you the structure to reflect on what you need to start being more consistent with yourself and your self-care.

Therapy automatically starts helping in this way because going to therapy every week literally is keeping a promise to yourself. It is an exercise in accountability to even walk through the door and start your self-care dialog.

And if there is one person in the world that you should respect enough to keep all of your promises to, it’s you.