‘Promise’ is a big word. It either makes something or it breaks something. There’s no in between.
In the last 18 months, there have been two Saturdays where I haven’t blogged — the day my father passed away, and last week.
Last Saturday when I woke up, I came downstairs, made a cup of coffee, and stared at the keyboard with a decision to make: do I write the blog? Or do I work on finishing the novel?
With hundreds of readers who my weekly posts go out to, I was a little worried about disappointing them. But I was more worried about disappointing myself. So I decided to work on the novel.
I know. First-world problems, right? But here’s why the decision was important…
At the end of May, I made a promise to myself — that I was going to write my second novel in two months and be done writing the book by the end of July. When I sat at the keyboard last Saturday, I was at a crossroads. If I wrote the blog because “that’s what I’ve always done,” I wouldn’t finish the novel on time. If I wrote the novel, I wouldn’t be keeping my promise to you, that I’d write an inspirational weekly post with my thoughts on lessons in life that I learned that week.
What I realized was that the promises that we make to ourselves are usually the first ones we end up breaking. We tend to keep promises to everyone else but are quick to break our own promises.
Here’s the thing: nobody knew about my goal. I didn’t take the advice often given about making your goals public so you’ll keep them. Nobody knew I promised myself to finish the book in July.
But I knew.
Getting out of your routine to do something different, especially in order to keep a promise that you’ve made, is a strange thing. At first, it feels wrong, like a righty trying to write with his left hand. But once you get past the awkwardness of doing something other than what you’ve always done, it gets easier. This past week has been one of my most productive weeks, both in and outside of writing. And it started with that first decision to work on the thing I promised myself I would finish.
Self-confidence matters more than you think. Every time you keep a promise to yourself, it grows.
The novel is done. I finished it this week. It will be called Credible Threat: A Blake Jordan Thriller and I’m in the process of having it edited now and hope to have it released very soon.
Keep the promises that you make to yourself first. It can make all the difference in the world.