Let’s talk about honor. In terms of relationships with others—spouses, significant others, parents, children, friends—honor means treating them with respect and kindness. It means upholding vows and keeping promises. It’s those times when someone needs help or asks a favor and we follow through even if in the end we are tired or overextended or it took longer than we thought it would. We show up because we said we would, because the other person is counting on us.
But what about those promises we make to ourselves? How often do those lay in shattered remains on the ground? We say the words “I’m going to . . .” but then never actually get to going. Or it’s those secret wishes and dreams and goals that we bury and keep to ourselves because if we never mention them, we don’t have to worry about letting anyone else down. But guess what? We’re letting ourselves down. And the more we do it, the easier it is to keep doing it.
When I was writing the first draft of my novel manuscript, I’d become really gung ho about my goals for a day or two. I’d get out my planner and make a note of my target word count in the upper right hand corner of each calendar square and then circle or highlight the new completion date for which I was then aiming. “This time is going to be different,” I’d tell myself. “I’m going to finish this first draft by such and such a date. I’m really going to do it this time.” Did you catch that? Those three magic words? I’m going to.
Well, guess what? I didn’t.
That time was no different than the time before because just like in my previous attempts I didn’t honor myself. I didn’t honor my time. I didn’t honor my goals. It had become my habit to set and then ultimately disregard the promises I made to myself and unlike those promises, the bad habit was harder to break. I had to interrupt the cycle.
And on July 6, 2018 that’s exactly what I did.
I made a contract with myself. An actual typed, printed, and signed contract which stated that I, Sandy Randazzo, would complete the first draft of my novel manuscript by September 15, 2018. The contract included a bulleted list of action steps and literal promises to myself. For example, I wrote: “I promise to write and/or edit with focused attention in a distraction-free environment for at least five hours a day, Monday-Friday.” And “I promise to remember that perfection is not a requirement and mistakes present an opportunity for growth.”
If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning, you know I completed that first draft by September 15. You also know that since then, I’ve also completed a second draft, and as of last week Friday, a third.
It’s amazing the progress we can make when we decide to start honoring ourselves and our goals and our time. And so that is my challenge for you this week. To make a promise to yourself and then keep it. Follow through on it as though someone else is holding you accountable. Because there is someone who is counting on you to show up . . . YOU! It doesn’t have to be anything big. It could be as simple as saying your goal out loud for the first time or writing it down someplace where you can see it. Get started today and honor yourself by turning that I’m going to into I WILL!