Broken promises cause a lot of pain in our lives.
“He promised to take out the kitchen trash every day.”
“She said she was done with stopping for a drink with coworkers on the way home.”
“He told me he would take care of paying that bill.”
“I promised myself I would exercise daily, but I’ve done it but once in the last three weeks.”
Not Keeping Promises Hurts
In one recent study, people who experienced a spouse’s breaking of a commitment experienced significant brain activity in the area associated with pain. The brain dumps cortisol and other stress hormones which causes pain in some parts of their body. Some actually experienced “takotsubo cardiomyopathy”, a condition that weakens and expands the heart under emotional stress.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, when we fail to keep our commitments to others, research is clear that we send a message that we do not value them. When we fail to keep a commitment to ourselves, we disrespect ourselves leading to harm to our self-image, self-esteem, and effects our ability to keep a future commitment.
Winning at Commitments
- Decide to Make a Commitment. Our friend, Greg Huston, Founder of The Crucible Project, has taught for years that the most important step in whether or not to make a commitment is to check for a “full body yes.” What he means by that is to check in with yourself to make sure your thoughts, feelings, and body are all in agreement. Is there a cell or more in your body that is not saying “yes”.
- How Bad Do You Want It? Your motivation for the commitment is key to whether you will carry it out. You will do what you are most motivated to do. If you want to start working out every morning but you find that you are still in bed, you obviously are more motivated to stay in bed than you are to work out. You can find your motivation to do what you want to do. Ask yourself, what is it that I will get for myself if I do this? Is having a better marriage worth taking out the kitchen trash every day? Is being in better health worth working out five times a week?
- Set Yourself Up Well. If you really want to work out, you will be motivated to set yourself up well. You will set out the work out gear, set an alarm (or two), find someone to hold you accountable, and give yourself a “reward” for milestones in your work out goals. If you really want to keep the commitment you will set yourself up to succeed in keeping the commitment.
- Give Yourself Grace for Steps Toward. When you fail to keep a commitment that you have a “full body yes” to, you may need to adjust your commitment to a reasonable goal. If you set a commitment to run a 5K and you find that you can only run for ten minutes without becoming winded, perhaps you can set a goal to run ten minutes, walk five, and run ten minutes, etc. until you have reached a 5K. Breaking down your commitment into steps along the way can help you achieve your goal in the long run without giving up.
Making Commitments In Your Marriage
If you really want to have the marriage you have always wanted, you must decide to do the things that lead there. In our articles over the years, we have communicated how important it is for you, unilaterally, to take action. If you wait to see your spouse change first, you will never get there. What you do, if you do it consistently, will change your marriage for the better.
What do you have to say?
We love to hear from readers. Do you feel the impact of broken commitments made by your spouse or others? Do you feel the impact of your broken commitments to yourself? What do you think about getting a “full body yes” before making any commitment? Have you checked your motivation to do what you have committed to do? What do you need to do to set your self up for success in keeping your commitments? Do you want a healthier marriage bad enough to do the things that will create it? What advice would you add to this article? Is there someone you should send this article to?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2016. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.