Promises to keep…

It’s a month to the New Year and many of us have already broken our promises/resolutions. Sounds familiar does it not?

Making promises is the easiest thing to do. It took me less than a minute to utter and write the below promises 😊

I promise to begin work on time

I promise I shall post one social media post in a week

I promise to document the report today

I promise I shall network and make one new friend weekly

I promise to update my CV in the next one week

And so on and so forth…. I am not even touching upon the personal promises that we make to ourselves…

Many promises require of us to step out of our comfort zone and bring about a change in our behavior – those are the ones that fall on the wayside first. The other reason could be that we no longer have that motivation or reward dangling in front of us. We need incentives to perform or change. It has been conditioned within us from childhood. Rewards are intrinsic for us to excel. This makes us dependent on external factors to improvise and grow. Absence of any such rewarding factor results in loss of interest.

The biggest damage that can happen when promises are broken is the loss of trust between people, teams and partners. Rebuilding on that trust then becomes a difficult task and may sometimes take people down the route of dejection, depression and sense of deep failure.

Sticking to your promises

While it is not easy to stick to all the promises we make, there exists enough proof that it can be done.

  1. Associate a sense of belongingness to your promise

Do not think you are alone in this journey. Share your promise and you will always find someone on the same path. It would be someone from a different function or organisation. Does not matter. Working together towards accomplishing a specific task always makes it easy.

  1. Express your freedom

Our own self-inhibiting fears play a big role in creating barriers for us. Many of these barriers are all in our mind and not realistic. We have no evidence to prove that those fears will come true. Yet, we allow them to overrule our rationale thought and derail us. Feel free to express your fears and acknowledge them rather than hide behind them. Once you have acknowledged, it is easier to move ahead.

  1. No guilt, no regret

This can be a tough one. I remember once missing a critical meeting just because I was unable to keep my promise of being on time. Bad Mumbai traffic played spoiler. For many days I cradled my guilt and regret over this one. To the point of visualising the worst outcomes. It created absolute havoc with my system and sleep! Guess what – in the long run, no one even remembered that I had missed this meeting and I was able to contribute with the same vigor to the issue at hand. Those days of guilt and remorse and sleeplessness were such a waste of time! It is always good to focus on the present and future rather than wallowing on what has gone by.

  1. Treat yourself as an equal

We sometimes make promises because we seek the approval of our manager or leaders. Treat yourself as an equal. Everyone goes through a journey of growth and learning. And everyone stumbles along the way. You are not alone. By treating yourself as an equal, you are opening the doors for respect for your work and appreciation for your creativity.

Ensure you stick to your promises by making those that resonate with you and are for you and not made based on other’s expectations of you.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Sarita Bahl is an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Swedish Institute of Management Program. An experienced and versatile leader, she comes with nearly four decades of professional experience. She has over the years successfully overseen the communications and public affairs function and led the corporate social responsibility strategy for Bayer South Asia, Pfizer, and Monsanto, among others. Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, the public sector, trade associations, MNCs, and the not-for-profit sector. Her areas of interest include advocacy, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and communications.

As an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and Senior Practitioner (Mentoring) from the European Council of Mentoring and Coaching (EMCC), Sarita specializes in career transition, inner engineering and life issues. Sarita enjoys writing and is passionate about animals, books, and movies.

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