Want to know one of the biggest causes of unhappiness? Breaking a promise you made to yourself.
Whenever you break a self-promise, big or small, you create stress and sadness in your life. In fact, you wind up getting a “Double Whammy of Unhappiness” whenever you’re not fully accountable to yourself (aka: You don’t stay accountable to working out, keeping your home organized, keeping up with emails, keeping up with friends & family, keeping up with paperwork, writing a book, etc).
You don’t get the “external” life perk which comes from doing that thing you know you gotta do – and thereby attaining what you wanted to attain!
You feel mad/bad/sad internally – because your soul (“core self”) feels ignored, disrespected, unloved. Coming up I’m going to share a helpful tool I personally use to make sure I stay accountable to my self-promises. But first, I’d love to share a little of Aristotle’s philosophies on leading The Good Life.
The speedy (and admittedly somewhat sassy!) cliff notes on The Good Life:
Aristotle put forth that “true happiness” comes from leading a life where you put in the discipline of acting with good strong character – so you can grow into your highest potential self. For Aristotle, The Good Life equals The Admirable Life – where you do actions your soul (aka: “core self”) can be proud of – and actions which stimulate and stretch your soul (“core self”). Plus – Aristotle also put forth that your soul (“core self”) will always know if you’re acting with good character – because your soul (“core self”) always knows what you’re doing/saying – or not doing/saying – as if your soul (“core self”) has an ongoing candid camera lens on the reality of your life – following you wherever you go! If you’re naughty too often, your soul (“core self”) will always know you’re misbehaving, and you will become unhappy, because you’re shrinking who you are – lowering your potential – thereby lowering your mood and your sense of self along with it all.
The lesson to be learned:
You must stay accountable to your self-promises in order to show your soul/”core self” some lovin’ – and in order to create a life you love – so you get a “Double Happiness Whammy” instead!
So ….what’s that aforementioned power tool I use to stay accountable to my self-promises?
I call it “Chip, Chip hooray!” Each day I “chip” away at a small chunk of a self-promise – so it doesn’t feel overwhelming and undoable. To be specific, I make sure to find at least 15 minutes to do a task which I know will bring me closer to the life I want (aka: working out, keeping my home organized, keeping up with emails, keeping up with friends & family, keeping up with paperwork, writing a book etc). I believe even if all you can do is a little “chip” of something – that’s still better than not doing anything. And all those little chips add up to a big “Chip, Chip hooray!” over time.
Here’s a funny but wise Woody Allen quip which relates to this tool:
Woody has joked that he believes that there’s life on other planets — and they’re far ahead of us technologically. Not because they’re light-years ahead. No, no. They’re simply fifteen minutes ahead of us. They have an extra 15 minutes in their day. Woody proposes that if we here on earth just had an extra fifteen minutes in our day, we could accomplish so much more.
The truth of the matter:
You do have those extra fifteen minutes! There’s absolutely zilcho excuses for not finding a mere 15 minutes extra in your day to do what’s gotta be done to live your happiest and healthiest life!
More truth in your face:
It’s ALWAYS better to do a little of something than a lot of nothing. Working out for even 15 minutes a morning is incredibly helpful for weight, muscle tone, energy, clarity, sanity and health.
Here’s a specific example of how I apply my “Chip, Chip Hooray Tool”:
I recently began a 15-minutes-every-morning-ritual of organizing and cleaning my apartment. Yep – EVERY SINGLE morning – 7 days a week – for 15 minutes – I “chip” away at some aspect of the apartment to clean/organize. No questions asked! I do this 15 minutes cleaning ritual EVERY SINGLE day for a few reasons: 1. I’ve found it’s far easier to do something every single morning – 7 days a week – than to do something a few days a week. WHY? Whenever I tell myself to do a task a mere few days a week, I often delay that task to the next day – to the point of not doing it all. Knowing something must be done every day, embues it with “permanent habit” energy. As Aristotle reminds: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” 2. Because it’s only a 15 minute quickie clean up – I forever keep my home clean. It’s a preventative messiness measure as well as a cure for messiness. Plus 15 minutes a day is a lot more fun than waiting till things build up to a hurricane-like messiness – so it’s a self-promise easier to keep! 3. I purposefully choose to do this task in the morning – because I want my son to watch me clean – so he knows that there’s not some magical “Cleaning Fairy” who makes things orderly while he’s in school. I make sure to encourage Ari to join me for some of the clean up – as my “teammate.” By including my son, I’m teaching him to embrace the core values of staying “organized and clean” – on a daily basis – so he will be more likely to incorporate these core values into his longterm life – and stay accountable to them!
Decide now you want to stay accountable to your self-promises – big and small! Decide now you will commit to doing a “Chip, Chip Hooray” for a particular self-promise you presently have not be living up to! Every night before you go to sleep, ask yourself: “What didn’t I get done today, but I promised myself I would do?” If you can still do a 15 minute “chip” – go do that “chip” before you go to sleep! If not, ask yourself to fess up to what got in your way of getting it done! Focus on how you might un-block this blockage! Next up, celebrate whatever “chip” you did manage to do! Chip, chip hooray for you! After all, you just moved a little closer to living your happiest life!
Want more motivational tools to break a bad habit for good? Check out my best selling “ENOUGH, DAMMIT” by clicking here now!
Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.