“What if I spend all this money on this coaching programme and then don’t follow through with it?”
This thought kept running through my mind as I was talking to James to see if the I Heart Coaching programme was a good fit for me.
Deep down, I knew it was. I knew with every fiber of my being that I wanted to be a business coach and this programme would give me a proven roadmap to build my coaching practice faster.
I told James the programme was too expensive.
I didn’t know if I had the time to invest in it and do the work.
I’d have to discuss it with my partner first.
I gave him every excuse in the book why I couldn’t sign up for the programme.
The real reason was I didn’t trust myself to follow through.
I had invested in cheaper online courses in the past and never finished them.
I had started passion projects and niche businesses I quit as soon as the passion ran out.
Heck, I couldn’t even keep my promise to myself to wake up when the alarm clock rang so I could start the day strong.
If I invested all this money in this programme, could I really keep this commitment to myself?
When I finally blurted this out to James, he told me this wasn’t a reason to quit. It was an opportunity to learn how to keep commitments to myself and build the trust that I could accomplish my goals.
That’s the person I wanted to be, so I said yes to this opportunity.
I know you feel the same. You too want to start your own business, but you don’t trust you have what it takes to follow through with it.
Maybe you’re not ready to sign up for a coaching programme or online course yet. But you can start building that trust in yourself and learn how to keep commitments to yourself so that, when the right programme comes along, you can say yes to your dreams.
Why Do We Break Commitments To Ourselves?
Is it me or is it easier to keep commitments you make to other people than the commitments you make to yourself?
There are a few reasons for that:
- The accountability factor: If you don’t keep a commitment you made to another person, you’re gonna disappoint them. Get in trouble, even. But, there’s no bad consequence when you break promises to yourself.
- Social rewards: When you put everyone else’s needs before your own, you’re praised for being a good girl, a reliable colleague, a loving daughter. But, when you dare to prioritise what truly matters to you, everyone calls you selfish…
- Lofty goals: I’m all for setting big goals, but when they’re so big to be unrealistic (6 figures in 3 months, anyone?), you’re setting yourself up for failure. Do this over and over again and you’ll become convinced you’re just not the type of person who can achieve anything in life.
What Happens When You Break Commitments To Yourself?
In the moment, breaking a commitment to yourself doesn’t feel like a big deal. You’re not disappointing or upsetting anyone. You’re not getting in trouble. You may even be told you’re a good girl for taking the time to help someone else instead of working towards your dreams.
Win. Win. Win.
You’re losing the most important thing of all.
Every time you break a commitment to yourself, you’re losing a bit of trust in yourself.
Your brain keeps score of all the broken promises you made to yourself. When you’re thinking of doing something new, it immediately reminds you of all the times you didn’t follow through. Why would this time be different?
Before you know it, you’re stuck in a vicious circle. You’re not taking action towards your dreams because you’re afraid you won’t follow through. And you can’t build the “follow through muscle” without taking action towards your dreams.
How do you get unstuck?
Related: 3 Ways To Build Trust In Yourself
How To Keep Commitments To Yourself
Learning to keep commitments to yourself takes time and dedication. Here’s what worked for me:
Keeping Commitments To Yourself Isn’t Selfish
I used to be the girl who dropped everything whenever a friend asked me for help – and then resented them for it.
Now, I just tell them I’m busy right now, but I’ll be happy to come round and help them later.
Selfish? It certainly felt so the first few times I did it.
But I still did it. Why?
Because keeping commitments to yourself and staying true to your word is an act of self-love.
You’re telling yourself that your dreams and goals matter.
You’re showing yourself you can trust yourself.
You’re proving to yourself you’re the kind of girl who can achieve everything she sets her mind to.
And still help out her friends. Few things are so urgent, they can’t wait a few hours.
You don’t have to choose between keeping commitments to yourself and keeping commitments to others. You can do both.
Set Your Environment Up For Success
The biggest mistake that keeps people from reaching their goals?
They rely on willpower.
Willpower doesn’t work. For anyone. Ever.
What works is systems. Creating an environment that supports your goals, so you don’t give up at the first hurdle.
One of my goals was to wake up at 5:30AM sharp. I’m a morning person and waking up an hour earlier would help me get more done while I’m still fresh.
I’d be in bed by 9:30PM… and then promptly proceeded to check out Instagram, reply to emails, watch a couple of videos on Youtube…
By the time I fell asleep, it was past midnight. No way could I wake up at 5:30 after that…
I knew I couldn’t rely on willpower to keep me off my phone. I had tried that and miserably failed.
Instead, I’d leave my phone in another room just before getting into bed. This way, if I really wanted to check out Instagram, I’d have to get out of my cozy bed and walk all the way to the kitchen.
I couldn’t be bothered to do that.
If you want to start working out, prepare your clothes the night before. If you want to spend a couple of hours a week working on an online course, schedule that time in your calendar.
Set up your environment so that breaking the commitment to yourself is harder than following through.
Find Your Why
Keeping your commitments to yourself isn’t about lack of time. It’s about lack of integrity (this is something James taught me in the programme, by the way).
I don’t have children yet, but I know that, as a mum, I’d never let my baby cry in the middle of the night. Doesn’t matter how tired I am, I’d get up and cater to his needs. I know you’d do the same.
Why? Because helping your child even though you’d like to get more sleep is in integrity. It’s who you are. You couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
That’s the kind of dedication your commitments need.
This kind of dedication needs a why. Why are you working towards your goals? Why do you want to start your business? What contribution do you want to make in the world?
When you have a strong why, a cause bigger than yourself to work towards, you couldn’t imagine not following through with your commitments.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel like it, if a friend calls you to go out, if you’d rather do something else… Doing anything else but what you said you were going to do won’t be in integrity. It just won’t be an option anymore.
Wrapping It Up
Keeping your commitments to yourself doesn’t have to be hard. Reframe your mindset, set your environment up for success, find your why and you’ll become the person who never breaks promises to themselves.