Wise & Young

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Keeping your word

How many times have we made promises to ourselves promising to do this, that, and the third. Or better yet, promised not to do something. Yet no matter now many times we make that promise how often do we break it. For some the promise is not to call back that guy who we said was "too clingy" others, its vows of celibacy. People sometimes use promises as a means of pointing out flaws that they want to correct within themselves, for instance millions of people vow to loose weight, get healthy, etc,etc for a New Year's resolution because they realize or they desire to better themselves physically. This is all well and good, pointing out something within yourself that you want to correct is the first step onto a long road of changing your behavior and making yourself a better person because of it.
The issue lies within the fact that usually the use of promises as a means of change and self reflection is inherently flawed one two levels. The first probably being the most obvious, that usually the promises are too much of a change, trying to institute a new paradigm shift rapidly or without a real gradual plan is almost destining the very promise to fail. In the class that I am taking we discussed the issue of incremental changes to "the system", for the purposes of the class the system was the federal government. But the theory goes that real long lasting changes occur gradually not broad sweeping unless some tragic event happened where there is public outcry for a change. Now taking this idea and applying it to the promise as a means of personal change and growth, maybe the promises we make do not embody an incremental approach. For instance, as posted earlier I want to save up money for a trip to San Juan for Memorial day, six sessions with a personal trainer, and a photo shoot with a professional photographer, ordinarily I would have just s aid I want X amount of dollars by a specific date. Yet this time I promised myself: A. A way of saving up the money B. I have certain dates and certain percentages of the money saved up C. A penalty for not meeting those deadlines.
Another issue with making promises is that there is no real consequence for breaking it, other than personal shame or guilt, when you make a promise to with yourself. When creating promises that you really want to fulfill there has to be a mechanism involved that serves as discipline if you do not fulfill your promise. As an example, seemingly everyone has been involved in an unhealthy relationship and you know what you need to do, which is cut that toxic person from your life, but for some reason they are still around and usually prominent. Now, if you make a promise to yourself not to deal with them or else you will not have sex with anyone or yourself for that matter for 30 days.
Granted all promises that you make for yourself and with yourself are reflections of what you want to change about yourself, where you want to be , and the issues that you are trying to deal with. For some when they make these promises they never intend to carry them out, others make an earnest effort to see them through. For those who belong to the latter, I hope what you read here will help you in some way. For those of the former, whatever floats your boat.


  • Fabulous read and I have gained a lot from reading this post. Keep up the great work ... I'll be back

    By Blogger Mahalia, at 5:30 AM  

  • I think the main flow is we make vows out of our emotions or desires. We don't put much thought into the changes we will have to make to make them happen. Thus, we fail, b/c our vow is made in a moment and not rationally thought out.

    By Blogger mytruth, at 3:04 AM  

  • my word is extremly important - i try to always do what i say im going to do. good post!

    By Blogger Clay, at 10:38 PM  

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