Are you good at keeping your commitments to others? What about to yourself? I take some pride in the fact that I meet my deadlines and keep my word, but a commitment to myself?
Until recently, it was a toss-up as to whether I’d keep that!
If you can relate, don’t worry, you are not alone. Many people struggle with this. The good news is, with a few relatively simple steps, you can change.
By learning how to keep a commitment to yourself, you’ll be better equipped to achieve your goals (financial and otherwise).
Ready to get started? Read on to learn all about keeping your commitments and reaching those money and personal goals!
The difference between a commitment to someone else and a commitment to myself
What is a commitment anyway? As we talk about it here, a commitment is a pledge or promise to do something in the future. That promise can be made to someone else or to yourself.
Are you asking, "why is it so difficult to make a commitment to myself and keep it?" Here are a few common reasons why you might struggle with accomplishing your goals for the most important person of all - yourself:
You don’t prioritize yourself
Many people (women especially) put themselves last on their list of priorities. First comes their children, their partner, their parents, their employer, their friends, etc.
Where do they show up on that list? Often, it’s last or not even at all.
The ramifications of this are huge. You can’t pour from an empty cup, no matter how hard you try.
When you do this, you probably find yourself making promises to yourself and never following through because there simply isn’t enough time.
Instead of breaking your promises to others, you end up breaking your commitments to yourself.
You have nobody to answer to but you
Another reason you might struggle with achieving your own goals? You don’t have any accountability. When you make a commitment and don’t tell anyone else about it, it’s easier to break that promise.
When you don’t have to do something, because nobody is asking you about it, it is easier to leave it to the end of the day or forget it entirely.
A lack of an accountability partner or system can really interfere with doing what you say you will do.
You are a people pleaser
When you are always striving to please others, you don’t always act in your own best interests. This means you might choose to please someone else instead of keeping up with the goals you set for yourself.
If you spend your days worrying about what other people think of you, you’ll forget about the most important person – you – and let your commitments to yourself slide.
The benefits of keeping your commitments to yourself
Do you need a little motivation to change your ways and keep a commitment? When you decide, once and for all, I am going to keep this commitment to myself, you’ll reap these benefits:
Increase your self-worth
Never following through on commitments to yourself can make you feel terrible. Each time you break a commitment to yourself, you’re telling yourself that you’re not worthy of keeping that commitment. That someone else’s needs or something else are more important than you.
When you keep your commitments to yourself, you show that you are worthy of making time for yourself. This increases your self-worth and benefits all aspects of your life.
When you value yourself, you become unstoppable. Keeping your commitments to yourself is a form of self love.
Gain momentum in all areas of life
Have you ever noticed that when you stick to something in one aspect of your life, other areas of your life improve, too?
When you do the things you say you will and go to the gym every morning, you also gain momentum and stick to a healthier eating schedule.
The momentum from doing what you say you'll do in one area seeps into other areas. Once the commitment ball is rolling, and you see that you can keep your commitments to yourself, you’re more likely to make (and keep!) more.
Reach your goals
Ultimately, keeping a commitment means reaching your goals faster and more often than not. Goals are reached by taking one step at a time and by keeping one commitment at a time.
Do you have a money goal in mind? If you want to reach it, it all starts with making the commitment to yourself that you will do what you need to reach that goal.
Whether that’s putting aside a percentage of your paycheck every month or learning how to invest, by committing to yourself and the process, you’ll reach that goal in no time.
Keep a commitment to myself? Who, me? Yes, you! Here’s how:
Do you find yourself wondering, that all sounds great, but how can I keep a commitment to myself? It’s easier than you think!
Here are the steps to take. Follow them and you’ll be keeping your commitments to yourself in no time:
1. Explore the why - ask yourself, why am I making this commitment to myself?
To up your chances of meeting your goals, you need to know why you are making them. Sure, you have a goal, but what’s the meaning behind it? What will motivate you to keep at it, even when times get tough?
Let’s say you have the goal of saving $10,000. Reaching it likely involves making a lot of commitments to yourself every day.
Perhaps you will vow to make your own lunch instead of buying a salad at work every day. Or cut out your beauty treatments for a year. Or stop shopping and spending for a few months.
So many little commitments are involved when striving to reach financial goals.
Want to increase your chances of sticking to those small commitments every day? Know your why. It doesn’t matter what the why is – you just need to have one!
Whether your why is to save up cash for a down payment on a new home or to purchase a fancy new wardrobe, be sure to keep it in mind as you commit to yourself every day.
2. Believe in yourself
If you set a goal and understand your "why" behind it, you’ll definitely reach that goal, right? Not necessarily.
One major hurdle that can get in your way is you. More specifically, your own limiting beliefs.
Do you believe in yourself? Do you trust yourself? And do you also think you really have what it takes?
If you doubt yourself, it will be difficult to keep your commitments. When you find yourself doubting or thinking you can’t do something, try to push through and remember all that you’ve accomplished and overcome in the past.
You are capable of handling what comes your way and of sticking to your commitments to yourself!
3. Make a plan
A goal with no plan is just a dream. Saying that you will pay off all your credit card debt by the year's end is a great first step.
But it’s just a first step. You’ll never achieve that goal if you don’t devise a plan.
You have to break down how – how exactly will you accomplish this? You might have broken commitments to yourself in the past because you never really established what the steps were to get there.
If you want to pay off debt, write down how you’re going to do that. You’re way more likely to keep that commitment and reach that money goal if you tell yourself how you’ll get there rather than just hoping you will.
4. Put your commitments in your calendar
Tell yourself, "if the commitment to myself requires time, I'll treat that commitment just like I would any other appointment". One excellent way to do that is to put the appointment with yourself into your calendar.
Maybe you feel a little lost when it comes to your own finances and would like to feel more empowered. If you’d like to learn more about personal finance, make an appointment with yourself every week.
Block off your calendar for an hour once a week and dive into your materials (Clever Girl Finance has 100% free courses on everything from creating financial goals to creating budgets).
In no time you’ll be on your way to being a master of your own money. Which is way more likely to happen if you make the time for it and treat it as sacred.
5. Hold yourself accountable
When you’re working toward something on your own, with nobody to answer to but yourself, it can get tough to stick to it. That’s where the magic of an accountability partner comes in.
It doesn’t have to be anything formal, but by telling someone else about your goal and checking in with them on your progress, you’ll be way more likely to reach that goal.
If you don’t have one person you feel comfortable going to, you can also make your goals public. Post on social media or start a blog to track your progress.
Sharing publicly and building a support system will help you stay accountable. It’s a great way to help push yourself when you need a little extra motivation.
6. Celebrate the small wins
Don’t forget to stop and celebrate yourself once in a while. Accomplishing goals is hard work!
Most of the time, since it is a commitment to yourself and nobody else, there won’t be much celebration when you do accomplish what you set out to do. That doesn’t mean that your small wins shouldn’t be celebrated!
Maybe your goal is to invest $20,000 in your 401(k) by the year's end. When you hit that milestone, it will definitely be a time to celebrate. But it's worth acknowledging yourself along the way, too, for all of the saving that you’re doing every week.
By reminding yourself of the accomplishments you’re making along the way, you’ll be more likely to keep up your commitments to yourself and reach those money goals.
7. Give yourself some grace
Lastly, you’re bound to “mess up.” To let yourself down. To not do something you told yourself you were going to do.
That’s ok! We’re all human and it’s impossible to be perfect all of the time. The key is to get back up and get back to your commitments.
So you went way over budget one month and didn’t achieve your goal of spending less on takeout and clothing purchases? Instead of dwelling on it, learn from it and get back on track with saving the next month.
One slip-up does not mean you can’t keep your commitments to yourself. It just means you didn’t keep one. Give yourself some grace and move on.
A commitment to yourself is a commitment to your future!
You may think, "it can be easy to blow off a commitment to myself." Way easier than letting down someone else.
But keeping your commitments to yourself will empower you and give you the momentum to reach all of your goals. Start prioritizing yourself by meeting your financial and life goals today!