“I feel keeping a promise to yourself is a direct reflection of the love you have for yourself. I used to make promises to myself and find them easy to break. Today, I love myself enough to not only make a promise to myself, but I love myself enough to keep that promise”
-Steve Maraboli, Life, The Truth, And Being Free
It’s the start of a new year and I’ve been challenging my classes to make a promise. A promise for what they want to get out of the next hour of class, a promise for what they want their day or week to look like, a promise that proclaims what they desire to become in this year ahead. Just like intentions, goals, or dreams, your promise can be BIG or small. Are you ready to make a promise to YOU?
Why a promise? A promise is a powerful statement, a self-made guarantee. It’s a strong bond you form to yourself based on the power of your word. And it’s a much harder statement to break. The idea of making a promise isn’t wholly new. The Romans began every January by making promises to the god Janus, for whom January is named. But in recent years, we’ve made the shift from making promises to making resolutions. A resolution is “solution.” A resolution means we are solving a problem (whatever we deem needs fixing). Add in the prefix RE- which means again and a resolution means we strive to solve the problem again and again. No wonder most people don’t follow through with New Year’s resolutions.
I defined my 2013 with one word: Fearless. And, last year I made a promise to myself to let this word be my theme or a way of looking at and living each day. I called up the word Fearless every time worry came up so I could let go of the fear and do it anyway. I called up my mantra to live outside my comfort zone on days where it was safer or easier to hide. I called up Fearless when I was on the edge of a breakthrough, trying something new, or having courageous conversations. Making a promise around being fearless enabled me to live wholeheartedly and grow exponentially.
This year my word is FREE. This year I intend to be free from my limited self-beliefs, the ones that tell me I don’t deserve to be loved or happy, the ones that tell me I should leave “real” teaching to the professionals and I don’t belong in this profession. This year I intend to be free from the eating disorder mentality so that I can go about my day without assigning meaning to what I have or have not eaten. This year I want to feel free in every fiber of my being and live each day with ease. And while this seems like a daunting promise to make, it all starts with my words. Watchmywords is the name I gave myself because writing was my thing, words were my breath, syllables were the air I breathed…and it all started with an email address. While I have always known the immense power of words, it wasn’t until reading such books like Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements and until I stumbled (quite literally) upon the intenSati practice, that I started to have a much keener awareness for language. And recently, this pseudo-name has taken on new meaning for me. If I desire my life to change or to feel free, then my language and the stories I tell myself must change. I must watchMYwords. I must take ownership for what it is I am saying and shift my thoughts and words to the ones that best support FREE. It means telling a new story. And it means telling that empowering story over and over again until I believe it. The word Free means not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes. And this year I’m making a promise to do precisely that.
It’s a NEW Year. Why not try something new? This month, I challenge YOU to make a promise to yourself rather than a resolution. This month I challenge you to take something on and follow through simply because you said you would. The Promise Cards contain a simple but profound message: This year I will ____________ because I said I would. Proclaiming that we will exercise at least three times a week or tell a new story simple because we said we would, means that WE value OURSELVES enough to follow through with what it is we said we’d do. Not because we have to. Not because society or our family or our friends think we should be/do this. Just because we said we would. Because I said I would are the five most important words you can start saying today so that you can live a life you love in a body you love. Want to put those five words to the test? Join the Promise Challenge below and BE the powerful force for positive change in YOUR life.
Life lived on purpose is a life well-lived…may you purposefully live today, this week, this month, this year with a promise in your heart and the words because I said I would on your lips.