We spend our lives making lots many promises to other people, but shouldn’t the promises that we make to ourselves be just as, if not more important?
Should we not take careful thought in what we want for ourselves, as what we will and will not ever do to ourselves ever, or again? There are many promises that we can make to ourselves, but there are some that are essential that we do. If we keep these fundamental promises to ourselves, we are bound for a better quality of life than if we went along without giving these things the thought and commitment they deserve.
Promise yourself that you are going to come up with an organized system to manage your goals and priorities. While people love their phones, and I used them for things like meeting and medication reminders, I am still a huge fan of the tangible, physical planner, where we can write things down in detail and see things that are upcoming in the big picture. Make e-mail folders so that you can keep things organized, tidy, and prioritized.
Promise that you will say “no” when you mean it and stick to it when someone is asking you to do something that is either outside your abilities or outside the time you have available to accomplish it. Learning to say “no” is a hard skill to master, but once you do, you will be so glad that you did! It is empowering, and it is honest.
Always start your day off right! Give yourself a minimum of 30-60 minutes to calmly ease yourself into your day. Have a cup of coffee or tea, listen to that podcast you have been waiting for, read a chapter of a book, or a section of the newspaper. No matter what you do, make sure it is that you calmly ease into the day, as this will set the tone for the day.
The way you end your day is just as important as the way you start. Promise yourself that you will not leave for the day without crossing off your to-do-list, returning all e-mails, and making all needed phone calls. This allows you to both start and end your workday with a clean slate, and it prevents you from taking your working home with you.
Always break things down into small and manageable steps. This will pay off with leaps and bounds in the long run. Too often people take on numerous projects without thinking of the project in its totality. When they do this they feel overwhelmed and that they cannot handle the idea, and have little faith in themselves to complete the project. However, if they always promise to sit down, take a breath, and clear their thoughts, they are able break the large task down into small and manageable steps that feel possible and easily completed.
Be realistic and fair in the promises that we make to ourselves. Often we have a habit of not only setting our own standards too high, but of holding other people to these unrealistic standards when they are not aware they are being judged by them. Correcting this starts with ourselves. If we set realistic and manageable goals for ourselves, we are much more likely to expect that same level of others. Promising ourselves that we will do this with ourselves, will have the added bonus of improving our expectations and interactions with others when it comes to the goals and tasks they are working on.
Promise yourself to never take yourself too seriously. You are human, you are going to screw up, and sometimes it is going to be on such a large scale, that it is actually comical if you allow yourself to see it. If you can tell yourself, “Ok, I epically messed up here and got way off track.” You can then turn around and decide how you are going to go about correcting your blunder, and quite possibly end up with a better product than what you started with because you allowed yourself to interject humor and exclude worry and self-pity.
Promise that you will reward yourself for your success. That you will allow yourself to enjoy each step on the ladder as you work your way up it, instead of just keep moving ahead. Too many people are so busy looking towards the next goal, or the end goal, that they forget to celebrate the small victories as they go along. They never learn that you can be both content with where you are at, but still have goals that you are working towards. If we do not promise to change this way of thinking, there are so many joys that we are going to miss out on in our live.
Dr. Nikki Martinez
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