“Promises are commitments to one and to others, when we make it we show our genuine intent and when we keep it, we mean that intent!” – Richa Chaturvedi
What? – Let me first define the word promise for you!
PRO + MISES = Pro means we are good at it. No one can do a task better than me. Mises means agreement. We agree to do something. In a consolidated way PROMISES means we are pro in making agreements!!!
When was the last time you made a promise to someone? Possibly this promise was that I’ll call you!; I’ll reach on time; I’ll handle your work etc… And whatever promise we make to others we generally keep them as well because someone is watching us, so we behave in a certain manner. This is called the “OBSERVER EFFECT”! Which means we behave in a genuine way when we see the cameras around us or when we see a traffic police guy on the signal. But if no one is watching we jump, skip or run right!!! When we promise to someone else that person is witnessing us as a person, so we keep our promise to avoid the loss of dignity or shame. But what happens when we make the promises to SELF? When was the last time you promised yourself that you will get up early and exercise, work, study or meditate! Were you able to keep up this consistently or you just did this a couple of times and started hitting the snooze button and slept all over again with a promise that we’ll start this all over again but from tomorrow which might not come probably!
There are 8 Limbs to Yoga which help you in living a purposeful life. One of the Limbs is Niyamas which means Rules and Guidelines to a meaningful life. Tapas i.e. Tapasya, one of the niyamas of yoga which means self-discipline is the practice of being disciplined in all domains of life. And discipline comes with promises whether made to others or to one’s own self! When we make a promise to ourselves we promise to bring discipline to a domain of life which isn’t doing well. So make a promise to bring it back on track with following steps, steps of promise, i’ll do 1,2,3… to get back on track. But what happens when we don’t keep our promise we are giving a signal to our brain, we aren’t serious, or need not to be trusted and hence, ideas of transforming are mere words and hold no value. Do you see the observer effect, when people are watching you, you keep the promises but when only you are watching yourself you tend to break most of the promises you make to yourself! These incidents stay in your muscle memory since it is happening almost every day and becomes a habit which is reinforced to an extent that it becomes really difficult to break through this, because our CPU i.e. brain isn’t recognising signals of transformation at all. Then we require all the more strength and effort to make our brain understand BOSS we MEANT it. OBSERVER EFFECT comes back and now even if someone is watching you don’t bother and break the rules.
HOW DO we break through this habit?
- By being mindful – Start making and keeping small promises to oneself. Like I’ll eat my breakfast before 10am. And the moment we start keeping small little promises, our brain starts recognizing the fact that ok, it seems serious this time, so let’s be watchful to this pattern.
- Gain Clarity to your promise – Write in detail, read, record in your own voice and listen to it to reinforce it.
- Have a witness – Accountability partner
- Observe and reflect upon your feelings and thoughts. Have a MOOD board
- Cultivate the pattern into your muscle memory everyday.
Make 5 vows to yourself –
- Promise to focus on physical health
- Promise to focus on mental health
- Promise to choose your life battles wisely
- Promise to make yourself a priority
- Promise to make yourself powerful by practising determination.
“Promise is a muscle which you build overtime with every intent you make it happen!” – Richa Chaturvedi