5 Ways to Effectively Keep Promises You Make to Yourself

By Tatenda


Last Updated: October 10, 2022

As I was getting ready this morning, I was listening to a podcast that got me thinking about the promises we make. 

When we make promises to others, we go above and beyond to make sure that we keep that promise. Be it with family, friends or colleagues, we want to always keep our word. We have the inherent desire to be viewed as reliable. 

Sadly, when we make promises to ourselves, we aren’t half as enthusiastic and driven to keep them. We are laid back, and if we fail to keep that promise, we just brush it off like it’s nothing.

The time frames we set for ourselves are not as firm as the ones we set for others. We are extremely comfortable with moving our things around and pushing them to a later date. 



Reasons Why We Don’t Keep the Promises We Make to Ourselves

This is because when we fail to keep the promises we make to others, there is a certain level of judgment that we don’t want.

However, when it’s the promises we make to ourselves, there is really no one to judge us, so we tend to be mellow with ourselves. 

Moreover, there is no one to hold us accountable. We can do what we want and no one will come and follow up to understand why we didn’t do what we said we would do. 

To add to that, usually, there aren’t any immediate consequences. We tend to be blinded from seeing the future, and we convince ourselves that there is plenty of time. If we fail to start today, we can always start next week. 

Some of the promises we make to ourselves might look like this:

  • Start going to the gym consistently
  • Start intermittent fasting
  • Eat healthy
  • Meditate every day
  • Read two books every month
  • Start the day with daily affirmations
  • Spend more time volunteering



5 Ways to Effectively Keep The Promises You Make to Yourself. 

1. Write them down.

If you tell yourself that you will do something and don’t write it down, you can easily forget about it or ignore it.

When written down, you visualize what you said you will do, and you are more likely to get it done. 


2. Break it down.

Sometimes you are overwhelmed by the promises you made because they seem too big.

Rather than promising yourself to finish writing the whole chapter by the end of the week, break it down. 

Promise yourself to finish a section of the chapter each day. This way, you have smaller tasks that are less intimidating but contribute towards your desired end goal. 


3. Be consistent.

Some goals can be achieved in one shot, but others take time.

Long-term goals like achieving a certain level of fitness or, in my case, finishing up a thesis require consistency. Even on days where you feel like you aren’t in the mood, just do something towards that goal.

I find that I feel like I am not in the mood before I start, but once I do, I find myself doing more than I thought I would do. 


4. Ease yourself into it.

Sometimes you have to take small gradual steps towards where you want to be.

If your goal is to run 5kms a day, running the whole 5kms on the first day might not be a good idea. Consider starting off with one kilometer. Once you are comfortable, you increase until you reach your goal. 

This way, you are likely to be more motivated to get to where you want to be. Trying to get everything done in one goal might overwhelm you and make you think that your goal is unrealistic and unachievable. 


5. Get an accountability partner.

If you are like me and you find it difficult to hold yourself accountable when it comes to keeping promises you make to yourself, consider getting an accountability partner. This has to be someone you trust. 

You would let them know all the promises you have made, and they will be there to question you and hold you accountable just like someone else would do had you made promises to someone else. In some cases, both of you can be each other’s accountability partners. 



Promises to Yourself Are as Important as Promises to Others

If you and your friend agree that every Tuesday, you will meet at 9 AM for coffee and your friend doesn’t show up twice in a row, you will most likely lose your marbles and have a firm chat with them. This is because you have evidence that your friend does not respect you and your time. 

If you won’t let anyone not keep their word, why would you allow yourself to do that?

Hold yourself accountable just as you would do to another person.

The hurt and frustration you feel when someone does not keep their promise should be the same when you don’t keep promises to yourself. 

Develop a healthy mindset and remember, the promises you make to yourself are as important as those you make to others.

Photo by Daniel Xavier


4 comments on “5 Ways to Effectively Keep Promises You Make to Yourself”

  1. Everyone needs to learn their Human Design in this regard. People that have an undefined Will/Ego Center should never make promises. That's about 7/8ths of the population. You can easily get a free chart. Just type "free human design chart" into any search engine and put in your info. This will prevent a lot of conflict. It's not that they are dishonest so don't take it that way. They are just not built for making and keeping promises.

    1. This sounds really interesting Sharie, thank you for sharing, I'll be checking this out! You may see a future article on this subject.

  2. Dear Tatenda, this article was an eye-opener for me. Wow! I had never thought about it this way, but you are so right. Thanks! I'm going to have a serious talk with myself.

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