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Why it never pays to break promises to yourself

Nov. 2, 2017
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Do you ever start a small, weird habit, and then one day realize you do it all the time? Turns out, that’s how a lot of our subconscious habits are subtly built. Whether you picked up your best friend’s habit, or perform an ordinary task a specific way, the small habit developed into a characteristic of your persona. 

So, what does this have to do with today’s article? Hang on, I’m getting there.

The Common Habit

Let’s focus on a common habit, that is easy to mindlessly build. This is a habit we all share, no matter what age, economic class, or nationality. The habit is so common, we might as well consider it generic to the human condition. Anyway, the habit is:

“Not doing what we say we will”

Tons of times we end the day with an unfinished “To Do” list. Tons of times we say we will do something, but we ignore the task completely. You ignore until that task is in your face, and you realize the task still needs to be done. Call it “procrastination”, “forgetfulness”, or whatever you want.  The main point, is the scenario continues to happen. Habits build gradually, which means you could be establishing a habit without realizing. This applies to all habits. Good or bad, habits are built the same way.

Establishing a Bad Reputation

Every time you don’t do what you said you would do, it is breaking a promise to yourself. This broken promise is comparable to lying. Breaking promises to yourself deteriorates your faith-in-self. This deterioration is more like a fade. Your broken promises begin to grow larger and larger. You grow less committed to yourself with each lie. Habits come from repetition, only they are repeated so often they can be done naturally. A small habit of broken promises transforms into lacking accountability.

Now you have established a negative habit, possibly disrupting your self-development. The habit has rooted itself in your life. You may think you will only do something once, but habits are like second nature in your actions. Negatives habits distract you from making the choices that push you closer to your goals. Being dismissive is a cheap way to give yourself a pass, but you do not realize you are creating a more permanent habit.

Why pay attention to repetitive actions?

You are giving the “okay” for that behavior. The last person you should expect to sabotage you is yourself. You will be with yourself your entire life. Set your sights on preparing to succeed. A task like that is hard if you allow yourself to build negative habits. You should be: your own best friend, your own cheerleader, your own ride or die. Luckily, it is not impossible to reverse or replace a negative habit.

Even a small action done repeatedly can become mindlessly automatic. Your body can be so familiar with an action, or your mind can be so familiar to a way of thinking, that the action or mindset becomes your default. Your habit is your go-to, which is like having an auto-pilot button. If you repeat a small beneficial action, the action will transform into a beneficial habit. Start now. Start to think of how what you are doing today will build into what you do tomorrow, and the day after that. Be mindful of your repetitive actions. Repetitive actions are what build your future habits.