Sunday, 7 October 2012

Commitment problem...? How to kick procrastination in 7 steps

Image courtesy of
As of wikipedia the word 'commitment' is simply defined as "...the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.. It is also known as a pledge or an undertaking." Amongst many other things it may refer to "promise or personal commitment". 

I found this picture on the left, and immediately knew I can relate. It's me sleeping and my commitment is moving out with this terribly cute, sad face. Oh, Man, how many times have I done this... especially on something that I believed was important to me. Or was it?

The human mind can reach extraordinary levels when it comes to making up self-justifications. Believe me, you and I know this all too well. Nevertheless, all the excuses in the universe will not stifle that nagging feeling that we just did something wrong. It follows you around and grows, and becomes a dark cloud above our head - at least that is how I feel about it. I decided to do some research, and find out what CAN be done to better keep to my own promises. However simple they may appear to be, it's worth it to be honest to yourself, not only for your own good, but also for the closest people to you. Let's break it down...

1. Be honest with yourself. However good the intention, make sure that you are able to fulfil it. Do you really have the opportunity, time and desire to stick to your word? Are you sure you are not going to let yourself or another person down? Remember, never feel forced into a promise, always make sure the promise comes sincerely from deep inside of you. --- Look back on this, if you were honest about your promise, and you have all the means to fulfil it, then why aren't you? What is holding you back?

2. Ask yourself if you mean it. Are you sure that you are willing to go through with your promise? Do you think you will be able to go through all the negative consequences of breaking the promise? If you do not mean it, and you are not able to honestly promise something, then you have to learn to be assertive, and say "No" to something that does not appeal to you.... right at the beginning, and not foolishly lead someone on.

3. Analyse your motivation behind the promise. Be sure to know the "why" behind the agreement to promise something. Are you helping someone, or did you want to get someone out of your hair for a while (until they come asking about the promise again). Did you get pressured into the promise? Is there something to gain or lose if make the promise, is it worth it for you? Were you hoping for a reward, but it fell through and you are no longer motivated? Clear out the warning signs in your head, clarify the issue if it is of significant importance to you. Don't keep it eating you from the inside. 

4. Start taking your promises seriously. Respect yourself, treat others and yourself exactly the way that you would like to be treated. Would you like someone to back out of a promise that is important to you? No? So, do not let yourself be that person. Cultivate your reputation, if it is important to you, make sure that you are a trustworthy person, and you're not only taking seriously the promises that you make to others, but first and foremost - make sure you keep your own promises to yourself. It does a lot for your own self-image, self-trust, and self-worth. 

5. Turn a promise into a written contract. You may not have a problem keeping promises that you made to other people, that's great! But it seems harder (for me) to keep promises to myself, because nobody is watching the progress, nobody is holding me accountable. So, sit down, take out a good-quality-looking paper, type and print out the terms and condition that you would like to apply to it, make spaces for paragraphs, number them, draw lines for your signature, treat it as if it was the most important contract that you will ever sign. Put it in a flip-file, or any other file that you use to keep important documents. Make sure you can always see it, and that it is within arm's reach. It's got to be there - looking at you! Like certificates at a doctor's office. 

6. If You cannot do it when you said, do it later. Never give up entirely, although it may seem tempting, but try to do it as soon as you have the next opportunity. Watch yourself not to succumb to procrastination, as it creeps up slowly, and unnoticed at first. Make sure that you don't miss your opportunity to fulfil your promise. 

7. Certify yourself. As with the certificates in the doctor's office; You can frame them, and make sure others see what you are most proud of, or you can choose to file them to a folder of your accomplishments. Take pride in your work. Designing a certificate is not rocket science, ask a friend for help if needed, and printing it.. is even easier. Make them fun/ creative, to show how much fun you've had keeping your own promises to yourself. Show them off to others, online through your blog, or offline, in your own room. 

Click on the link for the original text, I used the numbers and the titles of the 6 steps, but I couldn't fully agree with them, so I wrote my own take it "7 Steps for keeping promises to yourself and others". Feel free to check out the site with the original steps, and compare which take appeals to you the besst, and use it for your own good.  Be inspired!

Have you ever broken a promise? I have! I promised myself that will record 40 videos on youtube, of me thanking for 5 things everyday leading up to my birthday. I started making excuses, blaming others, dodging questions that could make me uncomfortable, and finally, so many days have passed that I decided to let it go. Whhhoaaa! But why? I was so determined and convinced that it is the right thing to do in the beginning. First excuses, and then, procrastination, and then the feeling that nothing is going to happen anyway. 

Whenever there is something wrong with me, I always go into "research mode", and I find out anything possible as to why it did not work out, or why is something happening to me, e.g. health symptoms. I loved the idea of the written contract. It's not all lost yet, I have 21 days left to my birthday ^^ I loved my gratitude idea from the beginning, I don't see why I should give up on it completely, as I still have some time left. This gives me hope, and I can see the tiny match lit at the end of the tunnel to personal growth. 
I felt so good to write it all out. 

Here's my contract, <click here>  add any ideas in the comments below, as the document is read-only. 

Take care. 


  1. You've got some great content here. A lot of good points to remember. I need to read this again. And again. And again until I get this down pat.

    Tossing It Out

  2. Excellent stuff. Make a date everyday with what you need to get done. That's what I do.

    Hugs and chocolate,

    1. Great idea, making dates, or schedling it in your calendar makes it all the more important too. Thanks

  3. Great ideas... :)
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