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Here's What It Takes to Keep a Promise to Yourself

02/22/2015 09:50 am ET | Updated Apr 24, 2015

As a rule, when we promise ourselves that we'll do something, or promise to stop doing something, we feel it's for our own good. We believe that life will be more satisfying with the change. What we often fail to take into account is that the promise is not just about improving relationships or conditions in one's life, but it's also a test of integrity.

To have integrity is to honor one's word, to know that we won't do anything unexpected or surprising that would have us break our word, and to recommit to our word if we find ourselves faltering.

It always feels rewarding to change our behavior in ways that improve our lives. And it feels even better to know that we can rely on ourselves to keep the promises we make to ourselves.

Keeping our promises is key to experiencing life as we dream it can be. That's what empowers us to dream big, to grow into and occupy that dream, and then to outgrow that dream and dream even bigger dreams. And in the process, gain all of the approval we will ever need -- our own.

Perhaps you can't always predict exactly how your promise will change your outer conditions, but it is 'satisfaction guaranteed' that if you keep your word to yourself, you will feel strong and confident inwardly.

When you can rely on your word, you tap into your natural talent for correcting anything that prevents a clear line of communication between your intention and your action. That is precisely the talent that makes it easy to break the back of excuse-making and procrastination.

When a person makes a habit of keeping his promises, he experiences incorruptibility between his thoughts and his feelings. Furthermore, he finds providence moving in unexpected ways, supporting him with his aspirations and aims. Life can be delightfully surprising when we take responsibility for being purposeful with our promises.

Here are three tips that will help you enhance your energy level when you make yourself a promise:

1. Consider your promise a contract with yourself.
Be specific about what you intend to do or stop doing. Be definite about the results you expect for keeping your promise. Reflect on why the results are important to you. What are your conditions of successful completion, and what is the value you get? Be clear about the importance of this contract.

2. Initiate a logical plan of action.
When will you begin to fulfill on your promise? Where will you be, or with whom will you be? It's especially important that you pay attention to those moments when it's most vital that you keep your promise. This isn't about wishful thinking. Initiate and act like your self-esteem depends on it. It does.

3. Before making the promise, be certain you have the skill-sets needed to fulfill on it. Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to carry out your promise? Do you have the necessary skills and resources to take care of business? If there's more preparation needed, or you lack the resources right now, then you cannot promise with confidence. So, don't commit yet. You may make an honest misjudgment, but you don't want to promise yourself something that you already can see is destined to fail. That's self-sabotage.

Reflect for a moment. Can you think of any particular self-promise that you've broken? Did you consider it as important as a contract? Did you have an action plan in place? Given your skills and resources at the time, did you simply promise yourself too much, too soon?

An important gain comes with enduring the discomfort of noticing your broken promises -- it offers you the opportunity to clean it up, thus creating a more trusting relationship with yourself. Considering your promises revered agreements, and taking your word seriously, gives you incredible focus and clarity. How sweet the results can be -- both outwardly and inwardly.

International Bestselling book author, Rob White, offers other inspiring short stories that reveal ordinary gurus who come to you to prove there's no such thing as a final failure unless you say so in his book And Then I Met Margaret.