how to succeed

Succeed By Making A Promise To Yourself

At the time of writing this article, I’m sick. I’ve had a fever of around 100 for the past few days, and it doesn’t seem to be getting much better. Even though I should probably be in bed, I gave my word to myself, and that’s something I’ll never break. I said, “Fred, you will write one article every day, no matter what. Do you understand?” “…” “Well?” “..fine. Yes, I will do that. I promise.” Fleeting sickness is no exception.

I made this promise to myself because I knew if I got sidetracked from my blogging goals then I’d never become a success. I’d never reach enough people to make a real difference. Having a purpose is great, but if you don’t have a plan on how you’re going to achieve that purpose, then it’s pretty much pointless.

Furthermore, the hard part of goal creation isn’t sticking to what you’ll say you’ll do – that’s easy. The difficulty comes in actually making a real plan in the first place. My favorite way to make sure I stick to a plan I made is to make a little promise to myself. Not sure what your plan should be, let alone how to make a promise to yourself? Read on..

Define a goal that means something to you

Ask yourself the following question: What is one thing that I don’t do right now, that if I did every day, would greatly improve my life? The first thing that comes to mind will be what we’re going to work on. Let’s say that exercise came to mind right away for you. There’s no good reason not to exercise each and every day. Even if you’re super busy, you can still fit it in somewhere, even though you might not think so at first.

Okay, so exercise is definitely important to you. You’ve been holding on to a bunch of extra pounds since the holidays, and you’re ready to let it all go. Once you know exactly what you’ll be working on, it’s time to be specific. Let’s create a plan that works with your schedule.

Come up with a real, tangible plan

This part depends entirely on your personal life. Let’s say you do your research and decide that exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week works for you – but you don’t have that much time. Most people would scrap the plan entirely at this point. They’d make excuses and come up with rationalizations as to why they couldn’t better themselves. This is actually the main thing that separates all success from failure: willingness to take the first step.

You decide that instead of quitting, you’re going to make this work. You decide to park farther away and take the stairs. That’s 10 minutes of exercise per day right there. Now you only have 20 minutes to squeeze in some where.. hmm. You decide to get up 10 minutes earlier. You were sleeping too much anyway. Now, 10 minutes left. That’s easy. You can fit that in right after work. Now your plan will include the following:

– Use stairs, park at end of parking lot

– Wake up 10 minutes earlier for a quick jog

– Exercise 10 minutes after work with another light job

It may not seem like a lot, but it builds up. In fact, assuming everything stays the same and you commit to this plan and are of average weight, you’ll lose about 15 pounds in a year. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? Big success comes from small, consistent changes.

Make a promise to yourself

Now it’s time to take the pledge. If I were to use the above example, my promise would go something like this: “I, Fred Tracy, promise to get 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week without fail, no matter what, and will go about it according to the plan I’ve created.” Write this promise out on a piece of paper and post it somewhere that you pass by every day. Tape it to a mirror and make it part of your morning ritual. Don’t just think to yourself, “hmm, good idea.” and leave this page. If you really want to change, you need to take action in the present. Do it right now and you’ll be more than satisfied with the results.

I used to come up with reasons not to write each and every day. Looking back, I realize it was nothing but self-sabotage. Even if I’m sick with the flu, I’m going to write. My mission is to help people through my website, and that isn’t going to happen if I don’t take action in the present! What’s your mission? How could making a promise to yourself keep you on track each and every day?


Fred Tracy is an individual incredibly enthusiastic about bettering himself and his readers. He likes to perform whacky experiments, and is an avid reader in the self help field. Creating the life of your dreams isn’t easy, but it is possible. Visit his personal development website to find out how.

  • Hi Fred,

    I absolutely agree. For as long as I can remember, when I make a promise I make sure I stick to it no matter what. If I feel a bit reluctant about a certain thing, rather than promising, I say, “I’ll do my best.” I sometimes add, “I’m not promising, but I’ll do my best.”

    As for goals, for the past week, I’ve been working on my daily actions; the actions that will bring real results in the direction of my goals. They first thing I did was take hold of the 80/20 rule. I will focus only on the 20% that will bring in the 80% results I a seeking.

    So far, I am keeping that promise to myself.


  • Fred, this is a great post! This advice could be applied to a number of personal goals, including exercising more, learning to cook or starting a blog, among others. But I’m especially interested in its relevance for career development.

    Career development isn’t just about tapping into your network and looking at job descriptions when and only when you find yourself in need of a new position. But, just as you recommend here, it’s a goal to be pursued over time, in small, manageable increments such as establishing a personal brand, maintaining relationships with contacts and staying knowledgeable about developments in your field of expertise. The end result may be a new job, or it may be an invitation to speak at a conference, or an introduction to a key contact.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Great article and definitive about taking action. I have posted my post-it on my computer and plan to take action each and every day.

    Thanks for a great article.

  • I don’t believe making promises to oneself has that much of an effect on bettering one’s life especially when so much of your life has to do with other people, then no matter how hard you try you will still be tied down by your connection with those people and your surrounding.I am not saying that one should give in to his situation and try to make excuses for his failure to make a difference even on a personal level, but sometimes it’s important to realize how serious your plight is and to what degree you are inevitably involved.

  • So true. It’s very hard to break a promise to yourself. You MUST have a plan or you’re just wandering in la-la land and could end up anywhere. Thank you for this post.

  • Hey Fred!

    I really respect and I’m severely inspired by the drive and the commitment you have towards bettering and helping others – despite on the limitations you may have on your part.

    Saying something is one thing, and doing it is another. It is sticking to a practical plan and being tenacious in it that truly makes a difference in our lives and others.

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  • It is very true that goals without plans are doomed to fail. And that making a promise can be helpful. I find it more helpful to make a promise to someone else. It’s harder to break those promises. So my promise to you all is that I will go up and down at least 3 flight of stairs 3 times each day.

  • Great article, i liked the idea of reminding yourself of your promise every time you start ignoring it . keep up the good work buddy.

    friends plz help me in my new blog i’m still a newbie. plz suggest something . thanks-

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  • @Hani that sounds great, I need to look into the 20/20 rule myself!

    @Wesw Absolutely. I think career development in particular is one of those things that we really need to keep the big picture in mind on, and make small, incremental changes.

    @Christina Me too! One of my daily to-do’s is to write an article each day. Sometimes it’s a guest post, other times a blog post, but doing it each and every day keeps me on track. :)

    @jojo If your connections to other people are really bogging you down, I suggest snipping them and finding better relationships.

    @Nuclear Dreams Thank you, that means a lot!

    Thanks for the comments guys, I appreciate each and every one of them!

  • Great article ! Time to make a prosime ! hehe

  • pretty good plan that ties in with what you are going to do anyway. I like the work one

  • eight

    I promise myself to stay on diet untill i loose all the extra weight.