Promises To Keep

So here we are at that point in the holiday season when the last present has been opened, the wrapping paper all cleaned up, the turkey reduced to leftovers, and we look ahead to the next priority on our agenda – New Year’s Day. Specifically, we start thinking about the year that is coming to a close and the one that is about to begin, which brings up that dreaded “R” word:” Resolutions! I am not exaggerating when I describe resolutions in those terms. I don’t know anyone who has ever made resolutions on January 1 and kept them much beyond February 28 (or 29th if it was a leap year). I gave up making resolutions years ago after failing every year to follow through on them. What I did come up with that worked came about because of something my Dad said to me many years ago.

My Dad was a small, quiet, humble man. He was the youngest of three boys, besides his younger sister, born in 1903. His father died in a work-related accident when he was 12. In those days there was no Worker’s Comp or Social Security benefits, nor were there any child labor laws. So all the boys had to leave school and go out to work to help support the family. At the age of 12 my Dad took on working in gas stations and mechanics shops where he taught himself to become an automobile mechanic. He kept up with his reading and, especially, his math skills on his own and eventually came to own his own garage and service station. While he may not have been deemed “book smart,” by the rest of the world, he was wise about the world in general and would occasionally impart some of that wisdom on me. One of those bits of wisdom had to do with keeping my word. My Dad said that people will always remember you, and judge you, by whether or not you were someone who kept their word. That meant that if you made a promise to do something, you did it regardless of how hard or inconvenient it was. To keep your word was a sign of integrity, honesty, and maturity. When I saw how important this seemed to be to him, especially as he was usually a man of a few words at best, I decided that it must also become important to me. To this day, if I give my word, or make a promise, I keep it to the best of my ability regardless of circumstances … only a physical disability or an Act of God will keep me from following through on it.

Which brings me to the notion of resolutions. As I traveled on my spiritual journey over the last 60 + years, and began the intense work of learning self-love and self-acceptance, it came to me in the early hours of a Christmas morning some years ago – 12:03 a.m. on December 25, to be exact, which was also my father’s birthday – that if I made promises to myself rather than resolutions, the likelihood of my keeping them were much better. In fact, I deserved to keep the promises I made to myself just as much as if I had made them to someone else. Over the years I have broken them down into three specific areas of my life so that I can work on them one at a time: my physical life, my spiritual life, and my creative life.

This year, my list of promises looks something like this:

  1. Spiritual Life – I promise to be more attentive to my spiritual life, allowing more time at the beginning and ending of each day for prayer and meditation, and to find areas of my spiritual life that need my attention, including becoming more active in a local spiritual community.
  2. Physical Life – I promise to get back on track with my daily yoga practice (which I let slip in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the holiday), trying to get out more to walk even if it’s cold, and become more pro-active in making my own healthy meals from scratch instead of opting for pre-made meals.
  3. Creative Life – I promise to finally finish the last ebook in my “Third Age Trilogy” (available on Amazon – see the links on the Contact Page), and to challenge myself to go beyond my comfort zone to try something new and exciting in my writing life.

Since I have gone public with my list this year, it makes it even more of a priority that I keep my promises. There is nothing on that list that is impossible, or an inconvenience, or is in any way not do-able. If I can love and honor myself enough to keep my promises to myself, I can have a 2018 that rocks!

Think you know what your writing assignment on the Home Page is for this week as we close out 2017? You guessed it! You’re going to make your own promises to the most important person in your life – YOU!

It has been my honor to spend this past year with you, sharing and growing as we seek to create the authentic lives we were meant to live. I wish you all an amazing 2018 filled with hope, joy, abundance … and promises kept!

Peace and blessings.

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6 thoughts on “Promises To Keep

  1. I never viewed them as resolutions myself but I have always made a lot of promises to myself. Sometimes they’ve been hard to keep due to things beyond my control but I always try. I’ve had a lot of disappointments so I have a lot to think about for this upcoming year. Wishing you many continued blessings! I’m glad I got to know you online. You are a wonderful lady.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your reframe of making promises to yourself Barb instead of resolutions and so appreciate you sharing them publicly. I intend to make promises to myself as well for the New Year and continue to live by my question of what is the most self-compassionate thing I can do right now in order to guide my inspired action. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and self-nurturing practices!

    Liked by 1 person

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